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Volume XXVI] 

[Number 2 





Sometime Sehijf Fellow 

^tm |)ork 


London : P. S. King & Son 


Copyright, 1907 




The following study aims to give a picture of the environ- 
ment in which Luther and his guests conversed and of the 
men who noted down the sayings of the master. Each of 
these reporters was a source from whom others copied until 
practically all the sayings were united, after several stages 
of transcription, into great collections by various editors. 
We might compare the process of accumulation to that by 
which many springs pour their waters into the same great 
river, the original notebooks corresponding to the springs, 
the first copies to tributary streams, and the final editions to 
large rivers. From an account of this process, as little tech- 
nical as possible, we naturally come to an appreciation of the 
literary and historical value of the Table Talk, treating it 
in a manner which is illustrative as well as critical. 

Among many friends and scholars who have helped me 
with criticism and suggestion, I must thank especially those 
to whose constant interest I owe the most — Professor J. H. 
Robinson, Professor J. T. Shotwell, both of Columbia Uni- 
versity, and my father, the Rev. H. P. Smith, D. D. 
131] S 



Preface 5 

I. Luther and His Guests 9 

II. The Earlier Reporters of the Table Talk . 15 

III. The Younger Group 29 

IV. The Sources 38 

V. The Collections 51 

VI. The Printed Editions of the Table Talk . 63 

VII. The Translations 76 

VIII. The Table Talk in Literature . . .85 

IX. The Table Talk in History. ... 99 

Appendix. The Literature . . . .111 
^33'] 7 

Luther and His Guests 

In the old town of Wittenberg the traveler may still see 
Luther's house looking much as it did three hundred and 
eighty years ago when he moved into it after his marriage. 
The veneration of posterity has restored it to the style of 
Luther's time and filled it with memorials of its famous 
occupant; pictures of Martin and Kathe on the walls; the 
old cathedra in the aula or lecture room; the bench on 
which Luther often used to sit with his wife, looking out on 
the neat garden in front. 

The house had once been the Augustinian Monastery, 
and as such Luther's home for several years while he was a 
member of the order; but the progress of the reformed 
teaching had left it without occupants for some time before 
it became the dwelling of the ex-monk and his wife with 
their numerous dependents and guests. Here the reformer 
spent the happiest and most peaceful part of his career. The 
storm and stress of the previous years had given place to 
a period of comparative calm which was to last the rest 
of his life. The awful struggle in his own soul, the 
fierce revolt against the abuse of indulgences, the brave 
stand at Augsburg, the heroism of Worms, the imprison- 
ment in the Wartburg and the perturbations of the Peas- 
ants' Revolt, all had passed. When Luther and his bride 
took possession of their home in June, 1525, they had be- 
fore them twenty busy, useful years, years of comparative 
quiet and domestic happiness. 

135] 9 


One cannot say years of domestic privacy. The Liithers 
kept open house and entertained not only their poor rela- 
tives such as old " Muhme Lehne " and their nieces, but 
many students as well, to say nothing of the distinguished 
strangers who visited Wittenberg. The table was always 
full. At the head the large form and strong face of the 
master would be conspicuous. He was a man of many 
moods, and his strong personality forced them on his 
guests, who took their cue from him, maintaining silence 
or talking seriously or jocosely as he set the example. At 
times he was lost in thought over some weighty problem 
of theology, or the vexatious attacks of the " Papists " or 
" Ranters," and again he was " happy in mind, joking with 
his friends." Near him we see the staid and dignified 
Schiefer, or the mournful Schlaginhaufen, intent upon his 
sins, or the irascible countenance of Cordatus. A strongly 
built woman, comely ^ in spite of her snub nose, serves the 
meal with the assistance of her female relatives, frequently 
participating in the conversation, occasionally the butt of 
an innocent joke from her husband, and sometimes quarrel- 
ing with the students who kept Luther from his dinner 
with their interminable questions. Let us hear from one 
of those present what a meal was like at Luther's table : " 

As our Doctor often took weighty and deep thoughts with 
him to table, sometimes during the whole meal he would 
maintain the silence of the cloister, so that no word was 
spoken ; nevertheless at suitable times he let himself be very 
merry, so that we were accustomed to call his sayings the con- 

^ Luther once thought her " wunderhiibsch." Kostlin, Martin Luther, 
i, 764. 

- Mathesius, Luther Histories, xii, 133a, quoted by Kroker, Luthcrs 
Tischrcdcn in der Mathesischen Sawm/uHg, Einleitung, p. 11. Cf. Kost- 
lin, ii, 488, Anni. I. 


diments of the meal, which were pleasanter to us than all 
spices and delicate food. 

If he wished to get us to speak he would make a beginning: 
What's the news ? The first time we let the remark pass, but 
if he said again: Ye Prelates, what's the news in the land? 
then the old men would begin to talk. Doctor Wolf Severus 
[Schiefer] a travelled man of the world who had been the pre- 
ceptor of his Roman Majesty's children, often was the first 
to introduce a subject, unless there was a stranger present. 

If the conversation was animated, it was nevertheless con- 
ducted with decent propriety and courtesy, and the others 
would not take their turn at it until the Doctor spoke. Often 
good questions on the Bible would be propounded, which he 
solved finely, satisfactorily and concisely, and if any one took 
exception to any part, he would even suffer that and refute 
him with a proper answer. Often honorable people from the 
University were present, and then fine things were said and 
stories told. 

Occasionally Luther would dictate something to one of 
the disciples. This was usually " some precious material 
in the interpretation of the Bible " such as the exegesis of 
the twenty-third Psalm v^hich Rorer recorded one even- 
ing and had printed.^ 

Cordatus claims the honor of being the first to conceive 

1 Seckendorf, Comment. Hist, de Lutherismo, iii, 134. Seidemann, 
Lauterbachs Tagcbuch von 1538, p. xiii. That this practice was com- 
mon among the other disciples may be seen from Aurifaber's Introduc- 
tion to his edition of the sermons : " These sermons have never been 
printed but by me, John Aurifaber, from the written books of honor- 
able and blessed persons, such as M. Vitus Dietrich of Niirnberg, Item 
M. Georgius Rorarius, M. Antonius Lauterbach, and Herr Philip 
Fabricius (who took them from the holy mouth of Luther as he 
preached)." Quoted by Seidemann from the Eisleben edition of the 
Sdmmtliche Werke, ii, i4Sb. These sermons were largely expositions 
of Scripture. Cf. also Seidemann, ibid., p. 165 ; Bindseil's CoUoquia. iii, 


the brilliant idea, so fruitful in later results, of taking down 
not only special pieces, but the general run of Luther's 
conversation. At first he had some compunctions about 
the propriety of making notes a^ his host's table, but habit 
overcame them. He says : 

I was also aware that it was an audacious offence for me to 
write down everything I heard whenever I stood before the 
table or sat at it as a guest, but the advantage of the thing 
overcame my shame. Moreover the Doctor never showed, 
even by a word, that what I did displeased him. Nay more, 
I made the way for others, who dared to do the same thing, 
especially j\I. Vitus Dietrich and J. Turbicida [Schlaginhaufen] 
whose crumbs, as I hope, I shall join to mine, for the whole 
collection of pious sayings will be pleasing to me.^ 

The same reporter speaks of a notebook in which he kept 
the precious sayings, and Dietrich says that the notes were 
taken on the spot, just as if the disciples had been in the 
classroom.' Still more explicitly Schlaginhaufen observes: 
" I took this down while we were eating, after a funeral." ^ 
Little discrimination was shown by the students who sat 
around notebook in hand, eager to catch and transmit to 
posterity the gems which dropped from their master's lips. 
" which they esteemed more highly than the oracles of 
Apollo." * Nothing was too trivial for them, and occa- 
sionally the humor of the situation would strike Luther. 

' Wrampelmeyer, Cordatus Tagebuch, no. 133a. The Latin at the 
end is incorrect, but this seems to be the sens* ; it is " M. Vitus Die- 
trich et J. Turbicida quorum micas (ut spero) illis meis conjunxero. 
omnis multitudo piorum gratis mihi erit." 

- Dietrich, p. 165b. " Sequuntur anno 1533 excerpta inter colloquen- 
dum." Quoted 'by Preger, Luthcrs Tischreden aus den Jahren J531 
und 1532 nach den Aufzeichnungcn von Joh. Schlaginhaufen. Einl., xiv. 

' Ibid., no. 465. 

♦ Wrampelmeyer, o(>. cit.. Einl.. p. 24. quoting Cordatus. 


Once when a widower sent a messenger to Luther asking 
him for assistance in the selection of a wife, the master, 
after the departure of the messenger, turned to his disciple 
with a laugh, and said: "For Heaven's sake, Schlagin- 
haufen, put that down, too!" Schlaginhaufen himself re- 
cords the incident/ 

In this connection it naturally occurs to us to ask whether 
Luther really disliked the practice of notetaking or not. 
In spite of the assertion of Cordatus that Luther never 
showed even by a word that he was displeased with his 
disciples' assiduity, it is certain that at times he regretted 
it. He wa? ^ware that he was exhibited to the world in 
neglige. " In St. Augustine's books," he says, " one finds 
many words which flesh and blood have spoken, and I must 
confess that I speak many words which are not God's 
words, both when I preach and at table." ^ Again he was 
probably thinking of the Table Talk when he said : 

I pray my pious thieves, for Christ's sake, not to let themselves 
lightly publish anything of mine (albeit I know they do it with 
an upright, loyal heart) either during my lifetime or after my 

death I repeatedly pray them not to bear the burden 

and danger of such a work without my public consent.^ 

^ Preger, op. cit., no. 292. 

- Hauspostille on the Gospel for the Sunday Jubilate. Walch : Lu- 
titers S'dmmtUche IVerke, xxi, p. 1248. Cf. also his preface to the 
"Little Sermons to a Friend," Walch, xii, p. 2375: "As we are men, 
there are many passages which are human and savor of the flesh. For 
when we are alone and dispute, we often get angry and God laughs at 
the extraordinary wisdom we display towards him. I believe he de- 
rives amusement from such fools as teach him how he should reign, 
as I ofteni have done and still do." This preface to the Conciunculae, 
which appeared in 1537, was inserted by Cordatus as a preface to his 
Notes (Wrampelmeyer, Einl., p. 41). It may have been that Cordatus 
was the friend to whom it was addressed. 

' Walch, Condones quacdam D. Mart. Luth., xx, 2373. 


At times he complained specifically and bitterly of conversa- 
tions published by his friends; but he never seems to have 
interfered with any one during the many years in which a 
large number of men wrote down his sayings in his presence. 
Melanchthon, however, on one occasion rebuked the in- 
discriminate zeal of Cordatus. The reprimand is recorded 
by the disciple on whom it apparently had not the slightest 
effect. He tells the story as follows : 

I wrote in my notebook these words : Luther to Melanchthon : 
" Thou art an orator in writing but not in speaking." For the 
candor of both the speaker and the listener pleased me. 
Melanchthon wished to persuade him not to answer a book 
edited by the pastor of Cologne, whom Luther calls Meuchler 
von Trasen. But what I wrote did not please Philip, and 
so when he had asked again and again for my notebook, where- 
in I was accustomed to write what I heard, at length I gave it 
to him, and when he had read a little in it he wrote this 
couplet : 

Omnia non prodest. Cordate, inscribere chartis, 
Sed quaedam taciturn dissimulare decet. 

With quite unconscious humor Cordatus adds in the next 
section that he was confounded by Philip's poetry.^ 

1 E. g., in the Conciunculae quoted above, where he complains bitterly 
that his friends have published sermones qtios ipsum sub coena et pran- 
diis effudisse during his illness at Schmalkald. 

' Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. 133. The Latin, as generally in Cor- 
datus, is confused, but the point is perfectly clear. 

The Earlier Reporters of the Table Talk 

LuTHER^s life may naturally be divided into two periods 
by his marriage in June, 1525. Each period has its own 
character, sharply marked off from the other, and each has 
much intc'rnal unity. Nine-tenths of his political activity 
fell within the first period ; it was a constant and fierce 
struggle ; and by the time it was over the victory had been 
won and the great revolt from Rome was well under way. 
The second period was one of comparative quiet, of domestic 
experience, hospitality, preaching, teaching and writing; 
not less interesting than the more active part of Luther's 
career, but interesting in a different way. It is not so much 
the operation of a great political force as the significance of 
a great man's private life which now engages our attention. 

With the exception of a doubtful note or two of Corda- 
tus, all the records we have of the Table Talk fall within 
the second period. During these twenty years no less than 
a dozen men followed the practice of reporting their hero's 
words as he spoke them at table. ^ A list of these men at 

^ We know who took notes partly from the extant records, partly 
from references, especially the lists of their sources given by two col- 
lectors of Table Talk, Mathesius (Luther Histories, xii, 131b, quoted 
by Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 13) and Aurifaber (preface to his printed 
edition, reprinted by Walch, op. cit., xxii, 40-55). These lists give the 
names of three men who did not take notes: Rorer (Forstemann-Bind- 
seil, Deutsche Tischreden, vol. iv, p. xvi ; Losche, Analccta Luiherana. 
p. 10), Ferdinand a Maugis (Seidemann, op. cit., Einl, p. xii; Kostlin. 
op. cit., ii, 618), and Weber (Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 15). Besides the 
141] 15 


this point will greatly clarify our subsequent discussion, es- 
pecially if we put opposite the name of each the dates witli- 
in which his notes were taken. 

1. Conrad Cordatus. 1524-1537.^ 

2. Veit Dietrich (Theodoricus). 1 529-1 535. 

3. Johan Schlaginhaufen (or Schlainhauffen, alias Tur- 
bicida, alias Ochloplectes, alias Typtochlios). 1 531-1532. 

4. Anton Lauterbach. I53i-i539-^ 

5. Hieronymus Weller. 1 527-1 538. 

6. Antonius Corvinus. 1532. 

7. Johannes Mathesius. 1540. 

8. Kaspar Heydenreich (variously spelled). 1 541-1543. 

9. Hieronymus Besold. 1 541 -1546. 

10. Magister Plato. 1 540-1 541. 

11. Johannes Stolz (Stolsius). 1542-1546. 

12. Johannes Aurifaber (Goldschmidt). 1545-1546.^ 

men mentioned in Matliesius' and Aurifaber's lists, we know that Cor- 
datus (whose notebook is extant) took notes and that Corvinus prob- 
ably did (Preger, op. cit., no. 342). Others who have sometimes been 
thought to have taken notes, but who did not, are: Morlin (Forste- 
mann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iv, p. xix; Kroker, op. cit., Eini, p. 15), 
Schiefer (Lingke, Merkwilrdige Reisegeschichte Luthers, 1769, Einl., p. 
3; Seidemann, op. cit., Einl., p. xii; Losche, op. cit., p. 9), Jonas 
(Kawerau, Brief e d. J. Jonas in QucUengesch. Sachscns, vol. 15, p. 104; 
F. S. Keil, Merkwilrdige Lebensumstdnde Luthers, pt. i, p. 161), and 
Melanchthon {Corpus Rcfonnatorum, xx, 519-608; Losche, op. cit.. pp. 
18, 19; Kroker, op. cit., Einl., pp. 34-37)- 

1 A very few notes of Cordatus and Lauterbach can be assigned to 
dates later than those given opposite their names, taken on their visits 
to Wittenberg. 

- The notes of Cordatus, Dietrich. Schlaginhaufen and Lauterbach 
are extant in something like their original form. The notes of Mathe- 
sius, Weller, Heydenreich, Besold and Plato are preserved (each note- 
book by itself) in the Alathesian collection. Corvinus is known only 
in one note copied by Schlaginhaufen. The notes of Stolz and Auri- 
faber have become indistinguishably merged in the collection of the 


The twelve men just enumerated fall into two distinct 
groups, the notes of six falling within the first fourteen 
years of the period and those of the others within the last 
six years. Cordatus and Lauterbach, to be sure, who are 
included in the first group, took notes on their visits to 
Wittenberg after 1540, but these sayings are few and unim- 
portant. It is convenient to give a short account of the in- 
dividual reporters of each group, in order to get a clear 
picture of the environment in which they worked. 

The years 1525-39, within which the first group took 
notes, were active and important, though their import- 
ance has been overshadowed by the great events of the 
eight years immediately preceding. Every one who knows 
the name of Luther, knows of the 95 Theses and the Diet 
of Worms, and the translation of the Bible. Only second 
to these in Luther's fame stand the appearance before the 
Cardinal Legate at Augsburg, the burning of Pope Leo's 
Bull and the Canon Law, and the three great pamphlets of 
1520. All of these ^ came before his marriage. We 
might compare Luther's career to that of a conqueror in 
which the events and labors just spoken of are the great 
battles by which a new country is subdued. The work 
which follows is less showy, but not less difficult; Luther's 
problem was no longer to conquer new territory, but to con- 
solidate and organize what had been already won. 

Thus we see his efforts in these years were chiefly ab- 
sorbed in regulating and developing the church he had 
founded; and in protecting it first from the inroads of 
Zwingli and the Swiss, and then from the internal strife 
which threatened it with schism. The two Diets of Speyer, 
the Diet of Augsburg of 1530, the Articles of Marburg, 

iThe translation of the New Testament was done iby 1522, and that 
of the Old Testament under way, though not completed till 1534. 



the Religions Peace of Nuremberg, and the Wittenberg Con- 
cord mark successive stages of Luther's participation in the 
evolution of Protestantism. Towards the end of the period 
the bigamy of Phihp of Hesse begins to weigh heavily upon 
him. His writings are no longer the trumpet calls to arms 
which we hear in the "Appeal to the Christian Nobility " 
and " The Babylonian Captivity," but the catechism and 
the hymns which did so much to put the services of the 
Church on a solid foundation. His domestic life, though 
disturbed by fear of the plague in 1527, was happy, and 
marked by the birth of several children. 

The first of the reporters, Conrad Cordatus, was about 
seven years older than Luther, having been born at Weis- 
senbach in Austria in 1476. After a number of years spent 
in wandering and studying theology in several places, dur- 
ing which he lost a lucrative ecclesiastical office in 15 17 by 
joining the revolt against Rome, he finally came to Witten- 
berg in 1524, and spent a year with Luther. Returning 
home he was imprisoned on account of his religion for 
nine months, but escaped and returned to Wittenberg in 
1526. From this time on he was practically a dependent 
of Luther's, who several times got him positions which he 
could not hold. The first of these was to teach in the new 
Academy founded by Duke Frederick \\ of Leignitz and 
Brieg. The venture was not a success, however, and when 
the Academy failed, Cordatus was again without occupa- 

1 A short biography is given by VVrampehneyer, op. cit., Einl. The 
sources for his life have been collected by Gotze in Jahrcsb. d. Altm'drk. 
Vereins f. Gcsch. u. Alter thiimskunde, vol. xiv, p. 57 ct scq. (1861). 
His Dcutsch Pastille or Sermons preached at Niemcrgk, 1534, were 
published with a preface by Melanchthon in 1554. Kolde, Anal. Luth., 
publishes some of his letters to Melanchthon. Much material is found 
in his Notebook of the Tischreden. Cf. Wrampelmeyer, op. cit.. no 
1536, &c. 


tion, and, after a short visit to his home, returned to Wit- 
tenberg in 1528. In 1529 he was called to be second pas- 
tor at Zwickau; but a sharp altercation with the burgo- 
master and Council caused him to leave " that Babel " two 
years later. For ten or twelve months (after August, 
1 531) he was Luther's guest; then he obtained an inferior 
position at Niemergk which he filled till 1537, when his hot 
temper got him into trouble again/ 

While at Niemergk he maintained constant intercourse 
with Wittenberg, and some of his notes prove that he was 
still Luther's guest at times.^ In 1536 he got into a dispute 
with Melanchthon, whom he called, with characteristic vio- 
lence, " a crab crawling on the cross." ^ 

In 1537 he was called to Eisleben, and from that time on 
filled several positions at a distance from Wittenberg, until 
his death, soon after that of Luther, in 1546. 

In reporting Luther's sayings he showed more zeal than 
judgment, writing down whatever came in his way, 
whether he heard it himself or learned it from some one 
else. He may have begun the practice as early as 1524, 
but he did not take many notes until 1532, when he spent 
a year with Luther between his pastorates at Zwickau and 
Niemergk. After his call to Niemergk in 1533 he made 
occasional visits to Wittenberg, during which he took 
some notes, closing the record in 1537, when he went to 

His intimacy with Luther is proved by anecdotes of 
which the notebook is full. He affectionately relates that 

1 Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. 1462. He complains of his hard life at 
Niemergk and Luther comforts him. 

2 These dates, however, are uncertain. 

' Kolde, Anal. Luth., p. 279. Cf. Kostlin, ii, 455. They were after- 
wards reconciled and Melanchthon edited his sermons. 


Luther often offered him his silver goblets in case of need. 
Again when he and Hausmann were sitting with Luther, 
the master remarked that a gift of 200 gulden would not 
please him so much as their company.^ The pair resem- 
bled each other in fearlessness and violence. Luther well 
characterized Cordatus (and unconsciously himself) when 
he said : " When God needs a legate who shall set forth 
his affairs strongly and dare to correct the vicious, he uses 
the wrath of some person like Cordatus, a man hard in 
speech and temper." ^ 

His irascibility must have made him at times an un- 
pleasant guest. He was generally on bad terms with 
Kathe, and sometimes with his fellow guests. One day 
the conversation waxed so interesting that Luther forgot 
to eat. When Kathe tried to recall her husband to mun- 
dane affairs he replied with some warmth that she ought to 
say the Lord's prayer before she spoke. " Then I," de- 
murely obser\'es Cordatus, " tried to bring him back to the 
former subject of conversation by asking him about Cam- 
panus and his redundant style." ^ 

When Luther, to his regret, could not help his friend 
Hausmann with a small loan, Cordatus had the bad grace 
to ask him why he had just let Kathe buy a garden, to 
which Luther replies, rather weakly, that he could not with- 
stand her prayers and tears.* Again Cordatus records a 
biting remark about Kathe's loquacity. " He called the 
long speeches of his wife ' a woman's sermons ' (mulieriim 
praedicationcs) , because she would constantly interrupt his 

' Wrampelmeyer, nos. 56 and 57. Cf. for other anecdotes nos. 989, 
1408, 253, 133a. 

* Ibid., Einl., p. 13 et seq. 

* Ibid., nos. in, iiia, nib. 

* Ibid. 


best sayings. And Dr. Jonas has the same virtue [ ? of 
interrupting]." ^ 

Occasionally Luther felt called upon to administer a mild 
rebuke, as when Cordatus asks for an explanation of the 
expression concupiscentia ociilorurn. Again Luther tells 
him plainly, " You wish to be master and perchance 
to be praised, and thus you are tempted." " 

Cordatus was middle-aged before he knew Luther. 
Dietrich, on the other hand, was a mere youth when he 
first met him. Born at Nuremberg, 1506, he came to Wit- 
tenberg in 1522,^ with the intention of studying medicine, 
a vocation which Luther * induced him to abandon for theo- 
logy. In 1527 he became a sort of amanuensis to Luther, 
accompanying him in this capacity to Koburg in 1530, and 
thence to the Diet of Augsburg in the same year.° He 
lived at Luther's house from 1529 to 1534, leaving in this 
year partly, perhaps, on account of a quarrel with Kathe,' 
but also doubtless because he was contemplating marriage, 
which took place in the next year. He was called to the 
pastorate of St. Sebald, in Nuremberg, in May, 1535, by the 
Council of that city. In this position he still maintained 
close relations with Luther and Melanchthon. In 1537 

1 Wrampelmeyer, no. 120. Jonas reciprocated by calling him a fire- 
brand. Corpus Reformatorum, iii, 1500. 
^ Ibid., nos, 74, 75, iis, 116, 161, 162. 

3 This date is given by Kroker, Einl., p. 8. Herzog in Allegmeine 
Deutsche Biographic gives 1527. My account is taken partly from 
Herzog, partly from Kostlin, and partly from Kroker, who used the un- 
published Tagebuch and corrected some errors in previous accounts. 
A Life by Storbel came out in 1772. His correspondence is in Corpus 

4 Dietrich, fol. 186, quoted by Kostlin, ii, p. 200, note I, "vocatio qua 
me a medicina ad theologiam vocaverat." 

Kostlin, ii, 514, 523. Herzog is in error in Allg. Deut. Bib. 

8 Cf. Kroker, Einl, 8. 


he subscribed to the Schmalkaldic Articles on behalf of his 
Church. Ten years later he attended the Colloquium at 

Dietrich was drawn into several theological quarrels/ 
Like Cordatus, he was a quick-tempered man, and took any 
contradiction of his views much to heart. His last years 
were embittered by the triumph of his enemies and broken 
by ill-health. He died at Nuremberg in March, 1549. 

He wrote little of his own, but was an active editor and 
translator of Luther's writings.^ His own notes and the 
copies he made from those of others are extant either in 
their original form or in copious extracts.^ They testify 
his constant attendance on his master. He nursed him 
through the severe illness which attacked Luther in 1530, 
after the Diet of Augsburg. If we may believe the man of 
God, this affliction was due to the direct interposition of 
the devil, whom he saw in the form of a fiery snake hang- 
ing from the roof of a neighboring tower. With his 
habitual shiftiness, however, the old Serpent changed his 
form into that of a star when Luther endeavored to point 
him out to his disciple.* 

Johann Schlaginhaufen, a native of Neunberg in the 
Upper Palatinate, makes his first appearance in May, 
1520, when he matriculated at Wittenberg.'^ He was ap- 

^ The first of these was on the question of private vs. general abso- 
lution, Osiander supporting the former and Dietrich the latter. The 
second was on the elevation of the Elements. The restoration of this 
practice at Nuremberg, 1549, broke his health. 

* Herzog, loc. cit. Cf. Kostlin, ii, 157. 

• His notes are not printed. Seidemann prepared them for the press 
and his copy was used by Kostlin. Cf. infra. 

* Dietrich, fol. 143, quoted by Kostlin, ii, 206. 

• G. Bossert, in Ztschr. f. kirch. Wiss., 1887, p. 354 et seq. New 
material on his life added by Preger, Einl., p. vi. 

149] E'^i^^^^i"^ REPORTERS OF THE TABLE TALK 23 

parently slow of study, for the next time he emerges, eleven 
years later, he is still a student, and a table companion of 
Luther besides, as we know from his notes of 1531 and 
1532. In the latter year he was employed at Zahna, a 
mile from Wittenberg, whence he kept up an intimate rela- 
tion with his former host. Ill-health and poverty clouded 
his sojourn here, which was, however, short, as he was 
called in December, 1533, to the more promising field of 
Kothen, as pastor of St. Jacob. Prince Wolfgang of An- 
halt-Kothen made him superintendent, but did not support 
him in the plan of church visitation he attempted to intro- 
duce. This complicated the situation, and being still trou- 
bled by ill-health and small means, he sought another posi- 
tion, and obtained, at Luther's recommendation, the pastor- 
ate of Worlitz. Here his health improved, his compen- 
sation was more adequate, and his plans of church visita- 
tion and remodelling the service on that of Wittenberg 
worked smoothly and successfully. 

With his friend Helt, Schlaginhaufen went to Schmal- 
kalden in 1537 as a representative of his church, for which 
he subscribed to the Articles. He then went home with 
Luther, who was suffering terribly from the stone, from 
which he hardly expected to recover, but of which he was 
suddenly relieved at Tambach. The disciple carried the 
news of his master's recovery back to the Prince, who had 
stayed behind, and was so full of it that, as he galloped into 
the town, he shouted triumphantly to the Papal Nuncio, 
whom he saw looking out of a window, Luther us vivit! ^ 

The date of Schlaginhaufen's death, which must have 
been later than 1549,^ is not precisely known. His authen- 

1 Kostlin, ii, 399, 400. 

2 As we know from a letter of Jonas to Chancellor Rabe, in Kawerau, 
Briefwechsel d. J. Jonas, ii, 287. 


tic literary remains are confined to a sermon, in a rousing 
style, preserved in the archives at Zerbst, and a book 
of Tischrcdcn which we possess in a copy possibly made by 
his son-in-law, J. Obendorfer of Kothen/ 

Schlaginhaufen won a place in Luther's household by many 
a little service gladly performed in return for his entertain- 
ment, for which he was too poor to pay. It is pleasant to 
believe that he got along with Kathe and the children better 
than some of the other guests. When Luther fainted, at 
the election of Rector, May i, 1532, Kathe sent the little 
girl to notify him first, and then Melanchthon and Jonas. ^ 

The poor fellow was much troubled with melancholy, 
which took the form of unceasing lamentation over his 
sins. Luther, whose own early struggles had given him a 
fellow-feeling for his disciples, was wondrous kind and pa- 
tient in comforting him. When Schlaginhaufen fainted on 
December 31, 1531, Luther indulged in a violent invective 
against the malice of Satan, and prescribed various meth- 
ods of foiling him. When restored to a semi-conscious 
state, the victim of the diabolic machination could only 
groan out " My sins ! my sins !" but a quarter of an hour 
more of exhortation and ghostly comfort finally enabled 
him to rise and go home.^ 

^ Bossert attributes to him a witty satire on Eck, written 1530, en- 
titled Eckii Dedolati ad Cacsarcam Maicstatem ratio. (Cf. Pirckhei- 
mer's Gehobelte Eck or " Rounded-off Corner.") This was probably 
not his however, but by a writer with a similar name — Schlahinhaufen. 
Cf. Preger, Einl., vi ct seq. 

- Preger, no. 77. He obtained the degree of master at an unknown 
date. Cf. ibid., no. 323. 

3 Seidemann. p. 57. Cf. Luther's letter to him Mar. 10, 1534, De 
Wette, Luther's Bricfc, vi, 148, wrongly quoted 'by Preger as Mar. 10, 
1532, De Wette, iv, 494. 


We now come to Anton Lauterbach, the most copious of 
all the notetakers, as well as one of the most energetic of 
later editors. Born at Stolpen in 1502, of well-to-do par- 
ents, he matriculated at Leipzig in the summer-semester 
of 1517 as of the " Meissen" nation/ He came to Wit- 
tenberg in September, 1521,^ for a short visit, but he did 
not become a regular student there until April, 1529. He 
gives us much the same testimony as Luther on the pre- 
valent lack of Biblical teaching. " I was a bachelor be- 
fore I ever heard any text from the Bible, which was a 
mighty scarce book in those days." ^ He took his mas- 
ter's degree at Wittenberg, and became a frequenter of 
Luther's table in 1531. 

In 1533 Lauterbach was called to fill the office of deacon 
at Leisnig; but a quarrel with the pastor caused him to 
seek, and obtain, a similar position at Wittenberg.* Here 
he was married, in the same year, to a nun named Agnes, 
and probably lived with his father-in-law, at least for a 
while. He was, however ,a frequent guest at Luther's, if 
not a constant boarder for many years. During 1538, es- 
pecially, he noted sayings of Luther for almost every day. 
He had similar Tagebilcher, though not so full, for other 

His regular connection with Luther was terminated in 

1 His father may have been the burgomaster of that name. My ac- 
count is taken mostly from Seidemann, Einl., p. v et seq. — an elliptical 
series of references to authorities, with a few words thrown in here 
and there. Anton tells an interesting story of his father and Tetzel. 
Bindseil, iii, 248. 

2 If he is not mistaken in saying so; he may have confused the date, 
or 1521 may be a slip for 1541. 

* Note in Bindseil, i, 136 (not in Dresden MS.). 
4 In 1536. See De Wette, iv, 583, 672 ; v, 37, with Kroker, Einl., 9 


July, 1539, when he himself was called to Pirna, an event 
which he relates in the following terms : 

When Master Anthonius Lauterbach was called away by the 
Senator of Pirna, he bade adieu to his teachers, and asked that 
he might be kept as deacon still. Doctor M. Luther answered: 
" It seemed good to God to call thee to the pastorate of Pirna, 
and thou doest well that thou obeyest, and although we would 
willingly keep thee here, we may not act contrary to his will." ^ 

He returned to Wittenberg once a year to see his old hero, 
and take down a few more of his precious words.^ After 
a long and acceptable ministry in Pirna he died there in 

Lauterbach's hobby was recording, collecting and arrang- 
ing Luther's sayings. Kathe's shrewd remark * that of all 
the disciples whom Luther taught gratis Lauterbach pro- 
fited the most, was fully justified, at least if we may judge 
by the quantity of material which he has left us. He took 
notes himself pretty constantly from 1 531-1539, and also 
on the short visits he later made to Wittenberg. Besides 
his own notes he made a large collection of the notes of his 
fellow-students. Finally he endeavored to blend all these 
sayings into one great collection, a piece of work which, 
in spite of repeated efforts, he could never complete to his 
own satisfaction. No less than four redactions of such a 
collection have come down to us, one of which was the 
basis of the famous edition of Aurifaber."^ 

1 Bindseil, iii, 127. 

2 Proved by notes of his taken in these years. 

3 Seidemann, p. viii. His bust may be still seen over the sacristy. 

* Kroker, no. 2>2>2. 

For his notebooks, see infra, chapter iv; for his collections, chap- 
ter V. 


Hieronymiis Weller was born at Freiberg in 1499. He 
studied twice at Wittenberg, the second time in 1525, when, 
under Luther's influence, he changed from Jurisprudence 
to Theology. In 1527 he came into Luther's house, where 
he lived until 1536, when his marriage with Anna am Steig 
necessitated his setting up housekeeping for himself. In 
May, 1538, he left Wittenberg to become court preacher to 
the Prince of Anhalt and Dessau; in 1539 he was called 
to his native place as Professor of Theology, in which situ- 
ation he lived until his death in 1572.^ 

Weller is a less conspicuous and a less amiable figure 
than some of Luther's other guests. He took little part in 
the conversation, scarcely any of his remarks having been 
recorded. On one occasion he is " consoled " by Luther 
in a way somewhat disparaging to his character, and on 
another the company reflects rather severely on his 
cowardice.^ His notes must have fallen between 1528 
and 1537. A considerable number of them have come 
down to us,' but they are of little value, as they were taken 
in a slovenly way, and mixed at random with notes copied 
from others, especially from Lauterbach. 

Antonius Corvinus is known to us only through one note 
which Schlaginhaufen says he copied from him.* It is an 
explanation of what the remission of sins is. If he really 
took notes, they were probably few, especially as he was 
never long at Wittenberg. 

Born at Marburg, 1501,^ he first appears to history as 

1 Kroker, Einl., 10. 2 Seidemann, pp. 71, 141. 

8 At least if Kroker is right in identifying sections 4 and 8 of his 
publication with Weller's notes. 

* Preger, no. 342. 

" My account of Corvinus is taken partly from the Allg. Deut. Bib., 
partly from Kroker, Einl., p. 11. Corvinus wrote an account of Eras- 


a monk in the cloisters of Rigdagshausen and Loccum, 
where he probably obtained his education. The attraction 
of Luther's teaching brought him to Wittenberg for a short 
time in 1525. We see him in Marburg in 1526 as preacher 
and professor in the new University of that city. Later 
he became connected with Philip of Hesse, and took part 
in the Conventions of Ziegenhain (1532), Cassel (1535), 
where Melanchthon and Bucer had a disputation, and 
Schmalkalden (1537). He was active in propagating the 
Reformation beyond the borders of Hesse, for which the 
enemies of the new faith imprisoned him from 1549 to 
1553. Shortly after his release, at the intercession of Duke 
Albert of Prussia, he died. 

mus's attempt to reconcile the two Churches about 1533. It is de- 
scribed as " impartial and conciliatory," which is hard to believe when 
we learn that Luther wrote an introduction to it. Kostlin, ii. 320. 

The Younger Group of Reporters 

In spite of domestic sorrow and increasing ill-health, 
the last years of Luther's life show no relaxation of that 
indomitable spirit and energy which had characterized the 
vigor of his young manhood. Vexed by the bigamy of 
Philip, and the use made of it by the " Papists," and wor- 
ried by the illness of Melanchthon in 1540, the religious 
conferences at Worms and Regensburg in 1541 and the 
measures necessary to discipline the Reformed Church 
made severe demands upon his strength in the following 
years. He found time, however, to revise his translation 
of the Bible, and to produce a number of polemic and homi- 
lectic works. His sufferings from the stone became con- 
stantly worse, and his feelings were harrowed, at first by 
the dangerous illness of his wife in 1540, and still more by 
the death of his favorite child, Magdalene, at the age of 
thirteen, in 1542. We find him as active as ever in the last 
year of his life, and only a few weeks before his death in 
February, 1546, he undertook a journey to Eisleben. 

One by one all the young men who had been accustomed 
to take notes at his table left him, and for a while, at the 
end of 1539, there was a time when his conversations were 
not reported at all, which one would think would have been 
a great relief to him. Other students soon appeared, how- 
ever, to renew the practice, and Lauterbach and Cordatus 
made occasional visits during which they would improve the 
convivial hour by collecting a few notes in their old way. 

Luther probably entertained his students gratuitously. 
iSS] 29 


There is never any mention of board bills in the Table Talk, 
and when Luther speaks of a financial transaction between 
a student and himself, the student is usually the beneficiary.* 
Doubtless some of them, as Dietrich, Lauterbach, and Auri- 
faber, paid for their entertainment in services as secretaries. 
The relation of famulus is one which has lasted to the 
present day, and is immortalized in the person of Faust's 
Wagner. Other students, as perhaps poor Schlaginhaufen, 
may have been taken for charity, and so expected to be 
ready to do odd jobs in return: possibly Cordatus would 
have been kept as a well-known theologian and sufferer for 
the Protestant cause. Luther's carelessness and generosity 
in money matters is well established; but he may have taken 
something from those of his guests who could afford it, 
rather however, in the way of gifts, than of stipulated rent 
or board.^ 

Of the younger group of reporters, Johannes Mathesius, 
who was to rival Lauterbach in the diligence with which he 
collected Luther's Table Talk, and to surpass him in the 
discrimination with which he arranged it, was first on the 
scene. His father was a Councilor of Rochlitz, where he 
was born in 1504.^ Johann attended the so-called "trivial" 

1 As where he records having paid something to have a student's 
room done over. Hausrcchnung, De Wette, op. cit., vi, 328. This 
shows that Plato (the student in question) roomed as well as boarded 
with Luther. 

2 Kostlin, ii, 498 et seq., gives a full account of Luther's means of 
support, chief of which was his salary from the Elector of 300 florins 
besides something " in kind." He also made a profit from his garden 
and brewery and received occasional gifts. The translator of Kostlin 
(Chas. Scribner & Sons), whose name is not given, says that Luther, 
like other professors, took boarders for pay. I am unable to find this 
in the original. Professor Calvin Thomas kindly informs me that it 
was unusual for poor students to pay; and it may be that the practice 
of entertaining them was a survival of the old monastic custom. 

3 His life, which I have consulted, was published by G. Losche under 


school, (i. e. school in which the elements or Trivium were 
taught), and, after 1521, the Latin school at Nuremberg. 
During the years 1 523-1 525 he studied at Ingolstadt, from 
whence he drifted into Bavaria, where he became converted 
to the Protestant cause. The renown of Luther and 
Melanchthon drew him to Wittenberg in 1529, but he did 
not, at this time, come into close relations with his teach- 
ers. In 1530 he was called as Baccalaureus to the 
school at Altenberg, and in 1532 was promoted to the 
headmastership of the Latin school at Joachimsthal, a min- 
ing town which had recently sprung up. Although his 
beneficent activity in this position drew many scholars and 
spread the fame of the school and its head, he had always 
felt a preference for the clerical calling, and when about 
thirty-five years old the opportunity came to him to follow 
his inclination. The providential means of fulfilling his 
pious wishes was a lucky speculation in mines ^ which by 
1540 had enabled him to realize enough to re-enter Witten- 
berg as a theological student. The recommendations of 
Jonas and Rorer got him the much-prized honor of a seat 
at Luther's table. 

Mathesius has been called, though incorrectly, Luther's 
famulus.' How long he was his guest is not certainly 
known, but probably no longer than from May to Novem- 
ber, which is the period covered by his notes of the Table 
Talk. That he was still occasionally invited to Luther's 

the title, Johannes Mathesius. Ein Lebens- und Sittenbild aus der Ref- 
ormationzeit (last edition 1904). The same scholar published his Aus- 
gew'dhlte Werke, 4 Bd., Prag, 1904 (2d edition). Short lives of Math- 
esius are given in Kroker, Einl., p. 11 et seq., and Losche, Anal., p. 7 
et seq. 

1 He became a partner in the lucrative mining business of Matthes 
Sax in 1538. 

2 Losche, Anal., p. 7, n. 4; Kroker, p. 11 et seq. 


table, we know from the fact that in tlie lectures he later 
gave on Luther's life, he sometimes relates anecdotes of his 
hero's conversations from the years 1541 and 1542.^ The 
reason he had to leave the house in November was due to 
the circumstance that he had collected a number of pupils 
to tutor. At first Luther kindly took the pupils with the 
master, boarding as many as four at one time, but when 
Mathesius added still others he saw he had to draw the line 
somewhere and the promising boarding schol left the house 
to seek some less inspiring, if more expensive, refectory." 

After taking the degree of master in September, 1540, 
he spent nineteen months more in study, and then returned 
to Joachimsthal in the capacity of deacon. He visited 
Luther in the spring of 1545 and later became pastor of the 
church at Joachimsthal, where he died in October, 1565. 
During his later life he made a collection of Tischredcn 
taken down by others, and added them to his own. 

We have already seen in what enthusiastic terms he 
speaks of the privilege of eating with Luther, and hearing 
him converse.^ His statement, made long afterwards 
in a sermon, that the disciples would not speak until spoken 
to, and that then it was usually Schiefer vv^ho answered for 
the company, is curiously borne out in his notes. He 
hardly ever mentions himself or any of the younger men 
as saying a word; the name of Schiefer however, appears 
often. We observe too, that a greater number of jokes 
are recorded in his notes than in any of the earlier note- 
books, a pleasant proof that Luther was not weighed down 

1 The Luther Histories. Out of z^ pages, 26 are devoted to anec- 
dotes of the year 1540, 4 to 1541, and 2 to 1542. 

2 Kroker, Einl., p. 40. quoting Luth. Hist., xiv, 165b, and xvii, 209. 
See also Kroker, no. 167. 

8 Supra, p. 10. 


by the cares of his declining years, and an incidental indica- 
tion of the increasing reverence in which he was held. The 
first reporters had noted down only serious remarks, now 
facetious, even damaging ones, are considered worthy of 

He himself was less zealous in taking notes at first than 
he was afterwards, and occasionally missed a good chance, 
as we see in an anecdote in a sermon he preached many 
years later. He relates there that on Whitsuntide, 1540, 
he heard Luther recount the story of his life up to the Diet 
of Worms. Of this story, which impressed itself so deeply 
on his memory, there is nothing in the Tischreden.'^ 

Kaspar Heydenreich, another of the reporters, was born 
in Freiberg, 15 16. He was the successor of Mathesius in 
the headmastership at Joachimsthal in 1540, but resigned 
this position in 1541, and went to Wittenberg, where he 
took the degree, of master on September 1 5 of the same 
year. On October 24, 1543, he was called to the position 
of court preacher to the Duchess Katharina, widow of 
Henry the Pious, whose residence was Freiberg. »He fol- 
lowed her later to Torgau, where he became superinten- 
dent. Here he died in his seventieth year in 1586. A con- 
siderable number of his notes falling between 1541 and 
1543 found their way later into the Mathesian collection.^ 

1 For jokes, see Kroker, nos. 3, 27, 90, 94, 95, 96, 99, &c. We also 
see Luther's preoccupation with Philip's bigamy during this period. 
Cf. ibid., nos. 181, 182, 188, 189, 200, 206, 210, &c. 

"^Luther Histories, xiii, 147a. (Quoted by Kroker.) It is possible, 
of course, that he may have been mistaken in the date. 

3 A short notice of his life is found in Kroker, Einl., p. 13. His 
authority is K. G. Dietmann : Die gesamte der ungednderten Augsp. 
Confession zugethane Priesterschaft in dem ChurfUrstenthum Sachsen. 
Bd. 4, p. 738. 


Hieronymus Besold was born at Nuremberg about 1520. 
He came to Wittenberg to study in 1537 and attached him- 
self to Melanchthon with whom he soon became a favorite. 
He did not begin his notes until after 1540, however, and 
only a few of them, belonging to the year 1544, have sur- 
vived, in the Mathesian Collection. He was still Luther's 
guest at the time of the Reformer's death, after which he 
went to board with Melanchthon. Through the recommen- 
dation of the latter, he obtained a position at Nuremberg in 
November, 1546. His career was checkered, due to his 
varying attitude on the Interim. In 1555 he took the opin- 
ion contrary to that of his father-in-law, Osiander, and 
signed the Confessio Anti-Osiandrina. In 1562 he was 
carried off by the plague.^ 

He completed the work, left unfinished by Dietrich's 
death, of editing the Enarationes in Gencsin. His notes 
are of little value. It is painful to discover that he was, 
like Cordatus and Dietrich, on bad terms with Kathe, whom 
he considered a " domineering, avaricious woman," and of 
whom he stood in awe at first. Later their relations im- 
proved, and Kathe used him to perform some little house- 
hold commissions, a willing return on his part, for the hos- 
pitality shown him." 

Of Master Plato, whom Mathesius speaks of as one who 
took notes after him, we know but little. He was prob- 
ably Georgius Plato Hamburgensis who took his master's 
degree at Wittenberg, September, 1537. Luther speaks of 
paying five florins to renovate his room in 1542, which 
would indicate that he not only boarded but lodged with 

1 Forstemann-Bindseil, vol. iv, p. xiv; Kroker, Einl., p. 13. Only 19 
sayings are attributed to him. (Kroker, nos. 260-271.) 

2 Kostlin, ii. 496. 


his professor. His notes fall in 1540. He followed the 
bad practice which we discovered in Cordatus, of introduc- 
ing the notes of others freely among his own, taking Mathe- 
sius especially as a source from whom to copy. We know 
his record in three copies, one that used by Melanchthon 
later in giving his lectures. Luther speaks of him as an 
ardent opponent of the Papacy.^ 

Johannes Stolz was a Wittenberger by birth. He was 
matriculated as a student at that university in the winter- 
semester of 1533-1534. In 1537 he went with Jacob 
Schenk to Freiburg, but soon returned. He took his mas- 
ter's degree at Wittenberg, September 18, 1539, and three 
days later was called to the pastorate at Jessen, but shortly 
after returned to Wittenberg as docent. In 1546 he was 
dean of the Philosophical Faculty. In 1548 he was court 
preacher at Weimar. He died late in 1558 or in 1559. 
His notes have become indistinguishably lost in the Auri- 
faber collection. They must have fallen between 1542 and 
1546 when he was with Luther.^ 

Johannes Aurifaber, the last of the reporters, and the 
first and most famous of the editors of the Tischreden, was 
born in the county of Mansfeld, about 15 19. In 1537 he 
was sent to Wittenberg by the help of Count Albrecht 
Michael. In 1542 he became tutor to the young count of 
Mansfeld, and a year later field chaplain for the same pa- 
tron. In 1545 he again returned to Wittenberg and spent 

1 Kroker, 235. Plato is ignored by the Realencyclopaedie and the 
Allg. Deut. Bib. Mentioned only once by Kostlin, ii, p. 676 n. to p. 487. 
He refers to De Wette, vi, 328, " Luthers Hatisrcchnung," where we 
find the entry "5 Platon Stublin." The note there calls him "Simon 
Plato Nobilis Pomeranus," but Kroker shows this to be incorrect and 
gives the true name. Einl., p. 14. 

2 This resume is taken from Kroker, Einl.. p. 14. 


a year with Luther as his guest and famulus, accompanying 
him in the latter capacity to Eisleben in the last year of 
Luther's Hfe. After his death, Aurifaber again became 
field chaplain in the army of the Elector of Saxony in the 
Schmalkaldic War, and in 1550 he was appointed court 
preacher to John Friedrich der Mittlere.^ 

He took an active part, on the side of the Gnesioluther- 
ans, in the quarrels which arose among the former leader's 
students. Employed in various diplomatic and confidential 
missions in the next few years, he got himself into trouble 
with Chancellor Briick on account of his firm stand against 
the sectaries. He was obliged to flee to Mansfeld in 1561, 
where his old patrons maintained him in leisure for some 
years. It was during this time that his Tischreden was 
prepared for publication (the book appeared in 1566) and 
others of his works relating to Luther. In 1565 he be- 
came pastor at Erfurt, and won the favor of the council 
there. He died ten years later in 1575. 

In his first stay at Wittenberg, he did not come into per- 
sonal contact with Luther, and he tells us in his preface that 
his notes were only taken in the last two years of Luther's 
life.^ He had already begun to collect Lutherana in 1540, 
and by 1553 he tells us that he had 2000 of Luther's let- 
ters. As the basis of his edition of the Tischreden he took 
the fourth redaction of Lauterbach, translated the Latin 
words into German and added some material of his own 
and others. The arrangement gives no indication of the 
sources from which he took the various Tischreden, so it 
is impossible to say, except from internal evidence, which 
often cannot be applied, what notes are his own, what are 

^Cf. Realenc, ii, 291. Short lives of Aurifaber are given in the 
Introductions of Forstemann-Bindseil, Walch and Kroker. 

' See Supra, p. 5. 


Besold's, what Laiiterbach's and others. It would be a 
conceivably possible, though a stupendous and almost fruit- 
less task, to unweave the web he has woven and assign 
each of his sayings to its proper source, where these are 
already known, and distribute the residue, with some prob- 
ability, to him or others according to the time in which 
they apparently fell/ 

1 The proofs of the statements, and some account of his work more 
in detail, will be given later. 

The Sources 

In the Preface we compared the process of accumulation 
whereby the sayings of Luther were gathered from a large 
number of primary sources into a few large collections, to 
a great river system in which many springs send tributaries 
into a few great streams. This comparison, however, gives 
no idea of the complexity of the process, and we might 
make the simile more exact if we imagined a large number 
of canals and aqueducts taking water from each spring and 
conducting into a number of tributaries at once, and cross- 
ing back and forth from one stream to another until the 
waters of all were thoroughly mixed. The simplest way 
of grasping the situation is by turning to the table in the 
Appendix, where the relations of the ]\ISS. and editions 
are plotted in such a manner as will make the method of 
transcription and composition of the collections clear. 

It will be seen from this table that we start with the 
twelve men who have left us records of the Table Talk. 
The notes of four of these are extant in their first form, or 
a close copy of it. They are: Cordatus, Schlaginhaufen, 
Dietrich and Lauterbach. Five others, Mathesius, Plato, 
Besold, Heydenreich and Weller are known by transcrip- 
tions into the Mathesian collection, and sometimes else- 
where. Of the others, Corvinus has left us but one note 
(taken into Schlaginhaufen's book), and the sayings taken 
down by Stolz and Aurifaber have become inextricably 
blended in the collection made by the latter. Besides these 
notebooks, we have one source of a different kind, in the 
38 [164 

165] THE SOURCES 39 

Luther Histories of Mathesius. For convenience we shall 
treat the sources under the three heads: i. The Notebooks 
extant in their first form. 2. The Notebooks in the Mathe- 
sian Collection. 3. The Luther Histories. 

I. The Notebooks extant in their original form 
As might be expected, the diaries in which the disciples 
preserved their master's sayings, show all degrees of accur- 
acy. Their value, though in all cases superior to that of 
the later collections, is very unequal, depending chiefly 
upon three things : a. whether the notetaker was a rapid 
and good writer or not. b. whether he dated his notes 
or not. c. whether he put down only what he heard, or 
also copied from his friends. We need no/, consider, at this 
stage, the possibility of conscious falsificat.on, either in the 
interests of pious edification, or for any otner cause. TJ'iere 
would be no such alteration, because, the notes being kept 
for private use, there would be no motive for disturbing 
them. Later, when they began to be published, the) suf- 
fered much in this way. 

The best of the notebooks is that of Lauterbach for the 
year 1538. In this he carefully dated every saying, anc 
he copied little or nothing from any one else. The note- 
books of Schlaginhaufen and Dietrich occupy a middle 
place; dates are not given for every saying, but the notes 
were taken chronologically and approximate dates are easily 
deducible for all the sayings, exact dates for many. 
Schlaginhaufen tells us he copied one remark from Cor- 
vinus,^ and we suspect him of taking a few others 
from Dietrich and Cordatus, but only a few. Dietrich kept 
what he copied from others in a separate book, and hence 
his own notebook is free from sophistication. His notes, 
unfortunately not yet published, are said to show a great 

1 Preger, op. cit., no. 342. 


degree of precision/ Those of Cordatus are the least re- 
hable; he copied so mucli and so promiscuously that it is 
hard to assign any original value to his notes except in the 
cases in which they can be expressly proved to be his. His 
notebook, in fact, stands half way between a source like 
that of Schlaginhaufen, and a collection, such as those we 
shall consider in the next chapter. Let us now take up the 
notebooks briefly, in order. 

As has been said, Cordatus was the first to think of pre- 
serving the Table Talk of Luther. His notes were not 
used by Mathesius or Aurifaber in their later collections, 
perhaps because Cordatus took pains to keep them from 
getting into circulation, mindful of Luther's injunction to 
his friends not to publish anything without his knowledge.^ 
His notebook was first found and published in 1885 by 
Wrampelmeyer. ^ 

Only very vague limits can be fixed as to the time 
within which his notes fell. The earliest date assignable 
from internal evidence is 1524 or 1525. The record was 
closed in 1537 when Cordatus left Wittenberg, as is proved 
by the naive subscription of the man whom Cordatus em- 
ployed to copy his notes, which reads : " Praise and thanks 
to God that I am at the end, for I have simply written my- 
self half to death, and yet wouldn't give up. May God re- 
store my right side which is smitten with cramp from im- 
moderate writing. 1537. Glory to God! Finis." 

1 Preger, Einl., p. xxiv. 

2 As Wrampelmeyer conjectures, op. cit., Einl., pp. 40, 41. 

3 From a MS. in the Library at Zellerfled. The identity of the 
author is established both by the inscription on the cover and internal 
evidence, such as the use of the first person. E. g.. "Ad me. cum Vit- 
tenbergac agerem propter Verbum, quoties dixit : Gsrdate, si vos non 
pecuniam habetis, &c." See also passage quoted above (p. 14) and 
Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., nos. 56. 133. 133a. 

167] THE SOURCES 4 1 

The value of the source under discussion is seriously 
impaired by the fact that the author copied promiscuously 
from his contemporaries Dietrich and Schlaginhaufen, mix- 
ing, as he expresses it, their crumbs with his in a mass of 
pious sayings, which may be pleasing to him but is ex- 
tremely puzzling to the investigator. The copying was 
done not at one time, and in a separate part of the book, 
but concurrently with the process of notetaking by the 
author himself. Thus we have now a note of Cordatus, 
then a few from Dietrich, then one or two from Schlagin- 
haufen and back to Cordatus again. ^ 

Dietrich and Schlaginhaufen also copied something from 
him and from each other, but in an entirely different way, 
and one which does not impair the value of their notes. 
Cordatus copied by far the most, and mixed what he copied 
indistinguishably with his original material." 

Dietrich's extremely valuable report, which is preserved 
in the Nuremberg city library, still awaits an editor.^ It 
has been incorrectly attributed to Mathesius on the basis of 

1 The question of the authenticity and chronology of Cordatus' notes 
is extremely intricate. Wrampelmeyer (op. cit., Einl., pp. 38, 39) gives 
a table of dates, which shows that he thinks he can fix the time of 
about 100 out of nearly 2,000 sayings. I consider his table unsatis- 
factory. On Cordatus' relations to Dietrich, Schlaginhaufen and Lau- 
terbach (from whom he copied very much), see Kroker, Einl., p. 55; 
Preger, op. cit., pp. xxiv-xxvi. Cordatus was immensely overestimated 
by Wrampelmeyer; he is, perhaps, unduly depreciated by the later in- 

- Schlaginhaufen copied little ; Dietrich kept what he copied separate 
from what he took himself. 

3 Seidemann prepared this MS. for the press, but died before print- 
ing was actually begun. Kostlin used it in Seidemann's copy. Cf. 
Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., p. 27, note i. Kostlin, op. cit., Vorwort to 
second edition, and vol. i, p. 774, vol. ii. p. 487. Dietrich's notes are 
discussed here, his collection, an entirely different book, in the next 


an inscription on the binding, but internal evidence proves 
that Dietrich was the author.^ On close examination 
Preger found he could date the individual notes, at least 
approximately. In their present form they are part of a 
manuscript which contains other material also. It has been 
proved that the part containing the Table Talk is simply 
bound in with the other material, and not copied with it 
from a common source by the same scribe. In binding, 
the quires of the notebook were disarranged; they originally 
followed one another in chronological order, which was 
restored by Preger.^ 

The conversations reported fall, as is stated in the title, 
within the years 1529-1535; the great majority of them 
demonstrably within the years 1531-1533-^ 

1 The inscription is, " Mathesii avrdypatpov." This is certainly an 
error, probably caused 'by some half-obliterated words on the parch- 
ment 'binding, of which " Mathesii " is one of the few still legible. 
These words very likely contained some expression of Mathesius, or 
some quotation from him ; whatever they may mean, it is certain the 
MS. is from Dietrich's notes. P'or proof, cf. Preger, op. cit., Einl., p. 
xviii. Also Seidemann, Sdchsische Kirch- und Scliulblatt, 1876, no. 43. 
Losche, Analccta, p. 10. Kostlin, op. cit., vol. i, p. 224, note 3. 

- They are contained in pp. 33-200 of this MS. The notation of the 
quires is E-DD. An older notation, represented by the small letters, 
b-q, can be discerned, which lettering is found only on the sheets which 
have Tischrcden. The order, mixed in the binding, was restored by 
Preger, qiicm vide, op. cit., Einl.. pp. xix-xxi. There is an Appendix 
of quires, F, G and H, which have no small letters. They probably 
contain copies from Dietrich's collection, and not, properly, his own 
notes. They puzzled Preger, who did not know that Dietrich kept a 
separate book for copies. Cf. infra, next chapter. 

8 The dates are ascertainable partly by marginal notes, partly by in- 
ternal evidence, such as reference to some contemporary event. Preger 
gives the dates and evidence, op. cit., Einl, pp. xix-xx. He thinks the 
reference to the happy estate of the peasants points to the good harvest 
of 1530. It seems to me that the reference is rather to the good for- 
tune of peasants in general in ibeing free from temptation. The other 
indications used by Preger in dating appear to me perfectly sound. 

169] THE SOURCES 43 

Schlaginhaiifen's book of Table Talk was discovered in 
a MS. in the Munich Library and edited by Preger in 1888.^ 
It appears to be almost entirely original, though the author 
tells us he got one saying from Corvinus (no. 342), and 
another (no. 142) appears to have been copied also, per- 
haps from Dietrich or Cordatus. As we have just seen, 
Schlaginhaufen was much copied by them. 

His notes fall in the years 1 531-1532, and were taken 
by him in chronological order.^ Schlaginhaufen is one of 
the most accurate and conscientious of the reporters, giving 
not only the substance but the exact form of Luther's words, 
as nearly as possible. Careful as he was, however, we can 
see that at times he wrote from memory, and not, as usu- 
ally, on the spot, " just as if at a lecture." For example, 
the long exhortation by which Luther assisted him to re- 
cover from his swoon (no. 57) could not have been taken 
at the time, when he would have been in no condition to 
write. We have a curious indication, however, that it was 
written down the next day.^ In other cases it is natural 
to suppose that details of time, place and circumstance were 
added later. 

Lauterbach was the author of a large number of books 
of Luther's Table Talk. These books may be divided 
into two classes, the notebooks (Tagebiichcr), in which he 
first entered the sayings as he heard them at table, and 
the collections, in which he afterwards edited and arranged 

1 Ibid., Einl., p. v, proves the MS. to (be from Schlaginhaufen's notes. 

2 Ibid., Einl., pp. xv, xvi. 

8 This is that when Cordatus copied it he dated it the day after it 
happened, probably copying the day of its entry rather than the day of 
its occurrence. In general, the accuracy of Schlaginhaufen is seen by 
the roughness of his notes. Kroker, op. cit., (Einl., p. 3,) suggests this 
may have been due to the fact that Schlaginhaufen could not write as 
fast asi Dietrich. 


his raw material. He never did this in a way which per- 
manently satisfied him, and so we have four redactions of 
the great edition. They will be discussed later, in the 
chapter on the collections. His early books of Tischredcn 
may again be divided into two classes, those which he kept 
for his own notations, and those in which he copied what 
was taken down by his friends (we have called one of these 
his simple collection as opposed to his large edition, spoken 
of above.) Of the former class we possess one, the Tage- 
buch of 1538, in a close copy of the original, and two others, 
one containing material compiled during the years 1536 and 
1537, and one for 1539, in the form in which they were 
later incorporated into the Mathesian Collection.^ 

The Tagebiich of 1^38 is by far the most accurate source 
we have. It begins on January i and goes to December 
12, dating each entry exactly, though not containing an 
entry for every day. Luther's words are put down in their 
exact form, the mixture of Latin and German which he 
used being retained. For his own remarks Lauterbach gen- 
erally employs Latin, as the easier of the languages to 
write quickly.^ 

The notes are full as well as accurate. Lauterbach spent 
no less conscientious toil on them than Rorer did on his 
reports of Luther's sermons. From them and from Lu- 
ther's letters we can get a clear and detailed picture of 
just what the reformer was doing and thinking every day 
of the year 1538. 

1 The relations of the sources to the later collections is made clear 
in the Appendix. 

2 This Tagebuch was edited by Seidemann in 1872. In his Preface 
(pp. iii and xiii) the editor proves the accuracy of the notes. A later 
critic discovers some omissions, cf. W. Meyer: "Ueber Lauterbachs und 
Aurifabers Sammlungcn der Tischreden Luthers " in Abhandlungen 
der koniglichen Gescllschaftcn dcr IVissenscItaften zu Gbttingen, Phil. 
Hist. Klassc, Ncue Folge. 1897. vol. i. no. 2, p. 37. 

171] THE SOURCES 45 

The rapidity of writing caused some errors, and is con- 
stantly betrayed in the rough style of the notes. ^ Thous- 
ands of changes are made in the later collections in the ma- 
terial taken from this with the desire to improve the liter- 
ary form and sometimes the sense also. For example, it is 
recounted of a locksmith's apprentice, how he saw an evil 
spirit which chased him for several hours one evening 
through the streets of Wittenberg and asked him whether 
he believed the catechism and why he had taken the Lord's 
Supper in both kinds, and forbade him to return to his 
master's house, which he therefore shunned for some days. 
Lauterbach and others' brought him to Luther, who said, 
" We must not believe every one, because many are im- 
posters." In the later collection the sense is completely 
altered; it is not the devil, but Luther who questions the 
young man on his faith. ^ 

Lauterbach's notes for 1536-7 were absorbed into Wel- 
ler's collection and with it taken into the Mathesian collec- 
tion.^ His notes of 1539 have survived in a copy made by 
the Rev. Paul Richter in 1 553-1 554- From this a small 
selection was made and incorporated into the Mathesian 

^ E. g., Seidemann, op. cit., p. 44. "3 Martii Luther habebat convivium 
sui regni. I'bi coenabantur, recitaibantur psalmi evangelia catechismus 
orationes prout singulis erat demandatum ; sed familia in pronunciando 
respirebat." Here r^j/'tVr&a/ is senseless and co^Hafcanfwr is strange. In 
the MSS. Wcr. and Mun. (see Appendix), and in Bindseil these words 
are corrected to haesitabat and canabantur respectively. Meyer, /oc. cit., 
p. 38. Meyer is criticising Seidemann's editing. 

2 As given in the Tagebuch it is undoubtedly correct, though Luther's 
response is inconsistent with his usually credulous attitude. Other ex- 
amples given in Meyer, loc. cit., p. 37. The anecdote is given in Seide- 
mann, op. cit., p. 6, for Jan. 10. 

3 Sees. 4 and 5 of Kroker's Tischreden in der Mathesischen Samm- 
lung. See infra. 

* Sec. 6 of Kroker. For Richter, see Appendix on MSS. His MS. 
is called Colloquia Serotina. 


2. Notebooks ivhich have survived in the Mathesian 


Besides the notebooks of the four men discussed in the 
first part of this chapter we have notes of Mathesius, Hey- 
denreich, Besold and Weller, which were taken in part into 
the Mathesian collection. Mathesius made his collection 
on a different plan from those of Lauterbach and Auri- 
faber, who took the notes out of their original order and re- 
arranged them topically. Mathesius copied his sources one 
after the other, so that we can distinguish the contributions 
of each, date the notes and estimate their relative value. 
But though the Mathesian collection is divided into sec- 
tions corresponding with the sources from which the editor 
copied, he does not tell us who is the author of each par- 
ticular one, and the nice work of discrimination has to be- 
based upon internal evidence. Kroker, who has edited Alathe- 
sius, has done the work admirably, and our account will follow 
him. Leaving the features which are common to the whole 
collection to be dealt with later, we shall now proceed to 
speak briefly of the individual notebooks which compose it. 

The most important of these is Mathesius' own Tage- 
buch, printed by the editor as the first section of the collec- 
tion.^ The sayings fall in the months of Alay to Novem- 
ber (except July, when Luther was away) of the year 1540. 
The order is that in which Mathesius took them down 
from day to day. The reporter did not take the trouble 
to date every entry he made, as did Lauterbach. but from 
the dates given and those deducible we can assign each 
saying to very nearly the proper day. Entries are not 
made every day, but there are some omissions, the longest 
of which are for the month of July, when Luther went to 

1 Evidence for the dates of the sayings given, Kroker, op. cit., Einl., 
p. 27. 

173] ^^^ SOURCES 47 

Weimar and Eisenach, and at the end of August, when 
either Mathesius may have left for a short time — Luther's 
beer had given out — / or else he remitted his activity in 
taking notes because of Kathe's sharp reflection on the prac- 
tice, recorded by Mathesius " in the following anecdote : 

When somebody asked the Doctor a question his wife said 
jestingly, " Doctor, don't teach them free! For they have al- 
ready learned much so, Lauterbach the most and the best." 
The Doctor answered, " I have taught and preached freely for 
thirty years ; why should I begin to charge now ?" 

The other notes which have come down to us in this col- 
lection are of less importance. Those of Plato will be 
treated more fully in the next chapter, as they resemble 
a collection more than they do a notebook. A large and 
valuable selection from Heydenreich's notes of the years 
1542 and 1543 is given in the second section of the 
Mathesian collection as printed by Kroker. Only excerpts 
were taken by Mathesius, as is proved by the fact that all 
the jokes, which must have been present, as they are so fre- 
quent in Mathesius' own notes, are omitted as unimportant.^ 

Besold's notes (a few poor ones only have survived) 
from the year 1544 are taken into the third section of 
Kroker's * edition of Mathesius. Weller's notes also form 
a section of this work. He kept two books, one of which 
we may call a notebook, and one a collection, though there 

1 Kroker, op. cit., no. 417, August 24. 

2 Ibid., no. 332. See also no. 334, note. 

3 There are 158 saj'ings of Heydenreich dated by the superscription 
1542. Kroker (op. cit., Einl., p. 40) proves some of them to have 
been from 1543. He proves in the same place that the section comes 
from Heydenreich. The sequence of the sayings was disturbed, just as 
in the cases of Dietrich and Schlaginhaufen, in the binding. 

* Sec. 3 of Kroker's Mathesius, no. 260-271, Einl., p. 44. 


is not much difference between them. He copied much 
from Lauterbach in both, and we have to distinguish the 
source of each by internal evidence.' 

J. The Liithcr Histories of Mathesius 

Besides the sayings which have come down to us in the 
notebooks we have just been discussing, quite a number have 
survived in a different sort of a work where they are intro- 
duced casually, and do not constitute the main interest. 
This work is a series of " Sermons," or lectures, on Luther's 
life, published by Mathesius thirty years after he had 
ceased to take notes at Luther's table. Even after this 
stretch of time, the author was able to remember and re- 
count some sayings of Luther which are found nowhere 
else, and for which, therefore, these lectures must be con- 
sidered the source. It is easy to see how much less weight 
can be given to this than to the other sources which were 
written on the spot. Let us see how far Mathesius was 
dependent on his memory, and how far on his own, or 
others', previous notes.* 

If we compare Mathesius' collection with his sermons 
we see that a great deal of material is common to both. 
Hardly a page of the latter is without some parallel in the 
former, parallels to his own notes of 1540 being especially 

1 Weller's notebook, sec. 4, Kroker ; his collection, sec. 8. See Kroker, 
op. cit., p. 45. 

2 The relation of the Luther Histories and Mathesius' notes was 
touched upon by Losche (Analecta, Einl., p. 32), but he thought it not 
worth considering, as he found only eight parallels. Had he taken 
short sentences and clauses, which are evidently reminiscences of the 
notes, as well as the elaborate parallels, he might have made a much 
larger list. Kroker did this, and found over one hundred parallels to 
the collection, of which 80 were to Mathesius' own notes; besides 
this he found parallels to others — Dietrich, Lauterbach and Schlagin- 
haufen. For the Luther Histories, see Appendix. 

175] "^"-^^ SOURCES 49 

frequent.^ Are these parallels clue to the fact that he re- 
members the sayings he inserts independently, or to the fact 
that he read them from his collection? We notice that he 
seldom quotes with verbal exactness, which proves, at least, 
that he did not have the collection before him as he talked. 
A further analysis shows three kinds of agreement, varying 
by degree of closeness, (a) Agreement of form and ex- 
pression, which is very rare. When we find it, it is in short, 
characteristic expressions. Mathesius has the same pen- 
chant for enlarging on what Luther said, that we discover 
in Lauterbach and Aurifaber. (6) Agreement in content, 
with difference in expression. This is the rule. Luther's 
sayings are ornamented and the circumstances of their ut- 
terance given. Sometimes there is nothing to distinguish 
Luther's words from Mathesius' own remarks.^ (c) 
Sometimes the sense as well as the form is changed.^ 
It is but natural that much of the material in the ser- 

1 Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 67. As sources, Mathesius also used the 
Wittenberg edition of Luther's writings and Aurifaber's of his letters. 
Aurifaber's Tischreden had not yet appeared. 

- Kroker gives examples, op. cit., Einl, p. 69. The most important 
one is the story of the Elbe turning red, which is recounted in three 
separate documents by Mathesius, viz.: i. A letter to Spalatin. 2. 
Tischreden, Kroker, op. cit., no. 120. 3. In the Luther Histories. On 
their face these three accounts contradict each other ; in one source 
Luther knows nothing certain of the facts, in another he has seen it; 
in one he thinks it a natural phenomenon, in another miraculous. 
Kroker tries to reconcile them all, but not successfully. The case really 
shows how unreliable is an account given from memory many years 

3 Kroker gives examples, op. cit., Einl., p. 71. One of these is Kroker, 
ibid., no. 135. " Ego tres malos canes habeo, ingratitudinem, superbiam, 
invidiam," etc., where it seems that Luther is referring to his own 
temptations. In Luther Histories, Ixii, 136b, the same words are used, 
but applied to the clergy under him. Kroker thinks the later account 
the true one, as the more probable; it seems to me that we ought to 
follow the earlier even at the cost of making Luther accuse himself of 
being tempted. 


mons and iti the notebook should be the same. Mathesius 
would remember what he hafl heard and written down pre- 
viously. But by the variation in the two reports we see 
that one was not taken from the other. Besides there is 
much material in the sermons which comes from the years 
in which Mathesius no longer took notes. For such ma- 
terial the sermons are a source. Not being taken down at 
the time, however, and varying considerably from the ma- 
terial which was taken down at the time, they have less 
authenticity and authority than the notebooks. 


The Collections 

Besides taking notes of their own, many of the report- 
ers were dihgent collectors of notes taken by others. 
Sometimes they kept these separate from their own, some- 
times they put what they copied along with their own ori- 
ginal material. Sometimes the collections were kept in 
the form in which they were found in the original, some- 
times they were " edited," i. e. smoothed off and rearranged 
in some definite order, usually topical. On the basis of the 
way in which they were collected we can, for the sake of 
convenience, divide the collections into three classes. 

a. Mixed, i. e. those in which the reporter put down 
notes from other sources along with his own original ones 
promiscuously and with no attempt at order. It is hard 
to distinguish these collections from the notebooks, and 
the distinction must be somewhat arbitrary, based on the 
relative importance and quantity of the original and the 
copied notes. Cordatus, for example, had such a book, but 
as his own notes are in fairly large quantity and greater in 
importance than the copied ones, we found it convenient 
to consider his book as a notebook. Plato and Weller left 
books much like his, but in them the amount of original ma- 
terial is relatively so much smaller that we may consider 
them rather as collections than as notebooks. 

b. Simple, i. e. those in which the author kept the notes 
177] SI 


he copied distinct from his own. Such were made by 
Dietrich, Laiiterbach and Mathesius. 

c. Edited, i. e. those in which the material was much 
changed, the notes rearranged and poHshed. Such was the 
collection known as Farrago literarum and such were the 
great collections of Lauterbach (not to be confounded with 
his simple one) and of Aurifaber. 

We shall speak of each of the collections in turn. 

That of Plato is uninteresting and of little value except 
as illustrating the vicissitudes through which the sayings 
of Luther might go before they reach us. He made the 
compilation chiefly by copying freely from Mathesius' note- 
book of 1540.^ When Mathesius was making a collection 
of his own, he got hold of Plato's, most of which was taken 
from his own notes, and reincorporated it into his own col- 
lection, thereby duplicating some 135 sayings which he al- 
ready had in their original form. Plato also copied from 
Dietrich, Lauterbach, and perhaps Stolz and Aurifaber, and 
made some slight attempt to put the sayings in topical order. 
The work has survived in two other copies. Melanchthon 
chanced to get a copy, and when he was lecturing to a 
class on Luther some years after his death, he took large 
portions of Plato as a text. These lectures were taken 
down by a student named Vendenhaimer, and have found 
their way into the Corpus Rcformatoriim along with 
Melanchthon's works.^ 

Weller's record of the table talk is also more famous for 

1 The three copies in which Plato's collection has survived are those 
known as Memorabilia, Melanchthon, and Mathesius, sec. 7. Kroker 
proved Plato to be the author, op. cit., Einl., pp. 48-54- How much he 
copied from Mathesius is seen (by the fact that of 149 sayings in the 
Mathesian Collection, 135 had 'been taken from Mathesius' notes of 

2 See Appendix, p. 115, for Corpus Rcformatorum. 

179] ^^^ COLLECTIONS r. 

its complicated history and obscure method of compilation 
than for any value it has as an original text. We have 
already discussed his note book, which approaches a 
collection in form, as it consists largely of copies from 
Lauterbach. In like manner his collection has a number 
of original notes. Both have survived only in the copy 
by Mathesius, the former in Section 4 and the latter in 
Section 8 (as printed by Kroker). 

Weller's larger work was not incorporated in the Mathe- 
sian collection by Mathesius himself, but by the man who 
copied it, Kriiginger. As printed by Kroker, Weller's 
copied notes form the eighth section of the compilation 
called by the name of Mathesius; in the MS. which he 
edited it is the first. This is because Weller had been first 
copied by Kriiginger, who made his work the first part of a 
new collection of his own and copied that of Mathesius as 
the second part. As Kriiginger was a mere copyist, we al- 
ways speak of the total result as the Mathesian collection, 
although it must be remembered that properly only sections 
1-7 as printed or 2-8 as in the MS., were compiled by 
Mathesius himself.^ 

To return to Weller. We can discover three sections in 
his aggregation of notes, the first of which consists chiefly 
of copies from Lauterbach (and perhaps Cordatus),^ the 
second, mostly of selections from Lauterbach's Tagcbuch of 
1536-7,^ and the third, of excerpts from Dietrich and Lau- 

^The complicated proof that Weller was the original of this collec- 
tion, and that Kriiginger copied it as a whole and did not compile it 
himself from the originals, is given iby Kroker. op. cit., Einl., pp. 54, 55. 

2 Parallels are found both in Cordatus and Lauterbach's great col- 
lection. The parallels in Cordatus are best explained by saying that 
Cordatus copied from Lauterbach's notes, which he later took into his 
great Collection. Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 57. 

' Ibid., Einl.. p. 58. There are no notes for February, 1537, when 
Luther was at Schmalkalden. 


lerbach, with a few original notes of Weller's own.^ 
The date of compilation was probably 1537 or 1538. 

The simplest of the " simple " collection is that of 
Dietrich, of which nothing need to said but that it contains 
copies from Cordatus, Schlaginhaufen and Lauterbach 
made in the same years in which Dietrich was taking notes 
himself, viz. 1 529-1 535, and that it has survived only in 
imperfect copies of portions made by three persons, one of 
whom was Mathesius, who made it part of the 6th section 
of his work." 

Lauterbach's simple collection (we must again warn the 
reader not to confuse it with his notebooks on the one hand 
or his great edition on the other) is extant in three MSS. as 
an appendix to his Tagebnch of 1538. It has never been 
edited, and indeed is not worth editing. All or most of it 
was taken into his great edition later, when the contents 
were polished and rearranged. It seems to be quite com- 
plete, containing copies from almost all the earlier group 
of reporters and perhaps some of the later. It was prob- 
ably made in 1538 or 1539 soon after Lauterbach left Wit- 

^ Ibid., pp. 60-65. A few parallels to the third division are found 
in Weller's works. They are of the kind known as Trostschriften; 
one on a woman in spasms, one on the devil and the jurists — person- 
ages who had a peculiarly close relationship in Luther's mind. 

' Ibid., Einl., p. 46. The other MSS. which contain excerpts from it 
are those we have called Bavarus and Obenander. See Appendix. Some 
copies are made from an otherwise unknown and unidentifiable source. 

* The MSS. which contain this collection are Khumer, pp. 257-426, 
Wer., pp. 35-2i2b, and Mun dm 939, pp. 7b-ii6b. The whole subject is 
discussed by Meyer, loc. cit., p. 40. Seidemann, who edited the Tagc- 
buch of 1538 read these notes, which he says also come from Lauter- 
bach's notes (Seidemann, op. cit., Einl., pp. ix, x). He seems to have 
thought, however, that they were in some way collected by the author 


The compilation of Mathesius, in the form of an appen- 
dix to his own notes of 1540, is the largest we have, being, 
in fact, a collection of collections. As it now stands (in 
the printed edition of Kroker from Kriiginger's copy) it 
consists of eight sections, each section corresponding to 
the notes copied from one of the author's sources. Each 
source was taken and copied straight through, with no at- 
tempt to rearrange the notes. These sections are: 

1. Mathesius' own notes of 1540. 

2. Heydenreich's notes of 1 542-1 543. 

3. Besold's notes of 1544. 

4. Weller's notebook (with copies from Lauterbach, see 

5. Lauterbach's notebook of 1539. 

6. Copies from the notebook and collection of Dietrich. 

7. Plato's collection. 

8. Weller's collection. 

The accumulation of these sources was gradual. Mathe- 
sius started with his own notes of 1540 and after Luther's 
death added to them notes from others one by one as he 
came across them, those of Heydenreich and Besold in 
1547, the next two sections in 1548 and the seventh some 
time later. The eighth section was not in Mathesius' own 
collection but was added by the copyist, Kriiginger.^ 

of the MS., Khutner, viz., Khumer, a friend of Lauterbach's. This 
could not have been so, however, .as Khumer's MS. dates from 1554, 
and the collection had already been copied 1550 in Mun. elm. 939. In 
general, the notes agree in form closely with the later great collection 
of which they formed a chief source. 

^ This section was one which had been copied by Kriiginger from 
Weller before he got Mathesius' collection, and was made by him the 
first section of the collection as it now stands in the Leipzig MS. 
Kroker, who edited the MS. in 1903, restored the order of Mathesius 
and printed (or rather summarized) Kriiginger's own collection in the 
8th section. Cf. supra, p. 37, on Weller's collection. 


A greater contrast in the treatment of the same material 
than that between the original notes and early copies of the 
Table Talk, and the later polished, or " edited " collec- 
tions can hardly be imagined. The notes were taken 
roughly and hastily at first, in transcription they were 
somewhat altered, abbreviations were expanded, omissions 
filled in, smooth forms substituted for rough, one language 
for the mixture of two and grammatical for ungrammatical 
constructions. These changes were begun by the reporters 
in copying their own notes, but they were extremely slight 
compared to the changes made by the later editors. 

In the original notes the chronological order is the one 
usually followed, and there is no attempt to replace it by 
the topical. In the edited collections the material is cut 
up and redistributed, explanations are added, much is 
omitted and much entirely recast. The idea was no longer 
to give a faithful report of Luther's exact words, it was to 
make an edifying book, something which would serve 
partly as a repertory for anecdotes to be used in sermons, 
partly as a pious memorial of Luther. All obscurities were 
cleared up, whatever was coarse was softened down, and 
whatever would give ground to the enemies of the faith 
was attenuated. Sometimes changes were made in the in- 
terest of picquancy, sometimes the original was misunder- 
stood.^ Dates and circumstances were added from memory, 
often incorrectly. 

^ An interesting example of this is found in the story related in its 
original form by Cordatus (Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., 945) and taken 
(either from him or some other source) into a later collection (Forste- 
mann-Bindseil, Tischredcn, i, p. 293). In Cordatus it is: " Et Maxi- 
milianus valde suspiciosus fuit in re militari. Gentes in periculis mac- 
taverunt etiam dilectissima," etc. Luther was thinking of such cases 
as Iphigenia, but the application of his words directly to Maximilian 
lead to the following amusing translation : " Kaiser Maximilian soil in 
Kriegshandeln sehr aberglaubish gewesen sein ; in Fahrlichkeiten that 
er Gott Geliibde und schlachtete was ihm am ersten begegnet, wie man 
von ihm saget." 


One MS. preserves an early attempt to compile such a 
book by an unknown author, which, though neither large 
nor good, nor historically important, is interesting as 
showing the first case of the topical redaction which added 
so greatly to the value of the book for purposes of edifica- 
tion. The MS. was written in 1551 by " M. B." and is 
called Farrago literarum ad amicos et colloquiorum in 
mensa R. P. Domini Martini Lutheri.^ 

It was the most assiduous of the reporters who became 
the most diligent of the redactors and collectors. Lauter- 
bach had a vast quantity of original notes as well as a col- 
lection containing copies from other reporters. These he 
kept by him until 1558 (twenty years after the bulk of 
them had been taken) and then he decided to put them all 
into a single volume, neatly polished and topically ar- 
ranged. This great work took him two years, and when 
it was done he was not satisfied with it but worked it over 
three times within the course of the next two years i. e. 
1 560-1 562. We shall say just a word about each of the 
redactions to show his method of procedure and its effect 
upon the Table Talk.^ 

The first edition of the great collection was made, as 
has been said, in the years 1 558-1 560.' The arrangement 
is somewhat peculiar. After cutting up Luther's sayings 
in tiny sections with separate titles, he combined them into 
large groups under general captions. He began by ar- 
ranging these groups according to his idea of the relative 

^ See Kostlin, op. cit., vol. i, p. 774; Kroker, op. cit., p. 6, note I. 

2 My account is taken entirely from W. Meyer : " Ueber Lauterbachs 
und Aurifabers Sammlungen der Luthers- Tischreden," in Abhand- 
lungen d. k. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften z. Gottingen, Phil. Hist. 
Ki, Neue Folge, Bd. i, no. 2, 1897. For these redactions, see pp. 9-18. 

8 MS. in Halle edited by Bindseil in three vols., 1860-63, see Ap- 


importance of their subjects from a theological standpoint. 
Thus the first chapter treated God, the second the Bible 
and so on. After a while all the important points of doc- 
trine had been disposed of and he came to a lot of chapters 
treating of matters indifferent. These he arranged in al- 
phabetic order, making them the second and third volume 
of his collection.^ 

Lauterbach's second edition of his collection was made 
shortly after the first was completed.^ Its peculiarity con- 
sists in the rearrangement of the small sections in the larger 
chapters/ Many passages are omitted, some material is 
added though not much. The chief addition is that of 
introductions to many sections by Lauterbach himself, giv- 
ing circumstances and explanations. These he may have 
taken from notes, but more probably added from memory. 

The third redaction we do not know in a good copy, but 
only in Rebenstock's edition in which all the German is 
turned into Latin. This was completed about 1561.* Its 
characteristic is that the chapters or chief divisions are 
rearranged. These changes were in part intentional, in 
part due to carelessness, a section omitted by oversight in 
one place being inserted at another. A good example of 

^ This order was misunderstood and confused by the copyist. It has 
been restored by Meyer. 

^ Preserved in two copies in MSS. at Dresden and Gotha, see Ap- 

3 £. g., under chapter " Civitas " all the sayings about each particular 
state are brought together. 

•♦ Rebenstock says he took it (1571) from a MS. "ante annos 10 ad 
aeditionem parata." Bindseil, vol. i, Einl., pp. Ixxxi-c. He was much 
puzzled by t'he relation of Rebenstock to this MS. The date of the 
second redaction sihould 'have been 1561. The Gotha MS. has 1562, but 
that may only refer to the time when it was copied from Lauterbach's 
original. Or both the third and second redactions may have been 1562; 
Rebenstock's 10 years being simply approximate. 


the first kind of change is the grouping the chapters Anti- 
nonii, Anabaptistae, Antichrist, Papae, Papistate and 
Papatus all together under the head of Luther's enemies, 
the intention being, of course, to get a more logical order. 
An example of the other kind of change is found in the 
insertion of the chapter "Absolutio," — which had been acci- 
dentally omitted before, — between the sections on "Luther" 
and " Melanchthon." Such an oversight is made possible 
by the fact that Lauterbach distributed his notes into quires, 
and his arrangement consisted in making a new arrange- 
ment of these; when a quire was mislaid it was left out of 
its proper place, and inserted later, when found. 

Another striking characteristic of the third redaction (and 
also of the fourth, which may have been copied from it) 
is the recurrence of numerous and important omissions. 
In some cases these were undoubtedly intentional, as they 
are of irrelevant passages,^ in other cases no such reason 
can be assigned, and the omissions must have been due to 
carelessness or accident. The arrangement of the last half 
of Part I and the whole of Part II is the old alphabetic one. 

The fourth redaction is known to us in the Wolfen- 
biittel MS. of 1562. As it was the one taken by Aurifaber 
as the basis of his printed edition, we will discuss it later 
when we come to him and his relation to Lauterbach.^ 

The differences between these four editions are far too 
great to be accounted for by any vagary of a copyist or 
scribe. They imply conscious redaction. We are sure 
that Lauterbach was the redactor of the first three editions, 
and probably of the fourth, though the proof for it is not 
clear as that may have been an early attempt of Aurifaber.' 

1 Meyer, pp. 12, 13. On pp. 14-17 he gives a long list of text changes 
in the various redactions. 2 Infra, p. 62. 

2 Bindseil (Colloq., vol. i, Einl., p. xxxxix) p'roved that Lauterbach 


Lauterbach's method of working is interesting. We see 
by comparison of the original sources with his version of 
them in his great collection that he changed not a little. 
In his first notes we see how scrupulously careful he was 
to get the exact form of Luther's words. He changed this 
a good deal in his first edition of the collection, and even 
after that, with the intention of improvement. He doubt- 
less felt that the way in which the sayings had been reported 
was not absolutely definitive. His changes were not con- 
fined to supposed textual emendations, but were often made 
with the manifest purpose of edification, and especially of 
eliminating whatever might damage the character of his 

He took no care, however, to avoid repetitions, and 
many an old " grouse in the gun-room " story of Luther's 
meets us in several places. Sometimes he combined en- 
tirely different stories to get a good narration. Sometimes 
he deliberately falsified the text in the interests of piety. 
Even though his motive was good his lack of literary tact 
and discrimination made the text worse when he changed it. 
He was encouraged to change because, having taken notes 
himself, he was aware that it was hard to get the exact 
form of Luther's expressions, and therefore corrected them 
in accord with principles which he supposed would bring 
out the true sense. 

The most famous of all the collections, and, until within 

was the collector of the first redaction. Meyer (pp. 19, 20) goes over 
his reasons and proves ithe 2d and 3d redactions to be by Lauterbach. 
This certainty is worth something, as it gives a little more authority to 
changes than if they had been by some one else. 

^ Meyer, pp. 20-25. Besides Tischrcdcn. Lauterbach mixed in some 
extraneous material, such as e. g., letters and allegories related by 
Melanchthon. Meyer found parallels to some of them in old MS. col- 
lections of allegories. 


fifty years the only one (except Rebenstock's edition, which 
has always been scarce) to be printed, is that made by Auri- 
faber. He had begun collecting materials for it with a 
view to editing at least ten years, ^ indeed one may say 
twenty years before it came out, when he sat at Luther' 
table and took notes of his sayings along with the other 
students. It may have been that he met Lauterbach at this 
time, when the latter came for a short visit from Pirna 
where he was pastor. 

It was not until about 1561, however, that he really be- 
gan to think of using the material he had accumulated for 
an edition of Tischreden. In that year his quarrel with 
Chancellor Briick compelled him to take refuge with his 
former patron the Count of Mansfeld, and the five years of 
enforced leisure which followed he used to good advantage 
in literary labors. He was doubtless encouraged to publish 
the Tischreden by the success his edition of the letters had 
attained. The materials in his hands were not copious, and 
to supplement them he turned to Lauterbach whose repu- 
tation as the best of the notetakers was already well estab- 
lished. In 1562 he got hold of one of Lauterbach's re- 
dactions — though just how is not known. He knew it was 
Lauterbach's, for he mentions him in his preface as his chief 
source, and it is probable that Lauterbach himself gave it to 
him, for he had just completed it himself, and there would 
hardly have been time for an intermediary copy.^ 

1 In the Introduction to his edition of Luther's letters, vol. i, which 
came out 1556, he tells us that he had already been collecting: "Lutheri 
enarrationcs in aliquot libros biblicos, multorum annorum condones, 
disputationcs, roncilia, colloquia & epistolas." 

- The general similarity and numerous minor differences between 
Rebenstock, the Halle MS. and Aurifaber puzzled investigators like 
Bindseil, who did not know the history of the redactions, first worked 
out by Meyer, 


In the MS. at Wolfenbiittel mentioned above we have a 
fragment of vi^hat is either a fourth redaction by Lauter- 
bach, or, what is more probable, an early attempt by Auri- 
faber. It is extremely interesting as being something be- 
tween Lauterbach's earlier redactions, and the collection 
of Aurifaber, as we know it in print. It contains only i68 
sayings, all translated into German in Aurifaber's manner. 
He appears to have omitted the introductions and extra 
material put into his third redaction by Lauterbach, which 
would go to show that he copied one of the first two. All 
the material in this MS. was incorporated later into his 
printed edition by Aurifaber. 

Aurifaber was so much pleased with Lauterbach's re- 
daction that he adopted it as the basis of his whole work, 
and did not change its form much. He translated all the 
material into the vernacular, and occasionally would im- 
prove Lauterbach's account by means of another.^ Some- 
times the same saying crept in twice. Almost all the ma- 
terial can be traced to its source, by far the greater part in 
Lauterbach, a little to other sources. The irreducible min- 
imum, for which no previous authority can be found, comes 
from Aurifaber's own notes, or from what he had copied 
of Stolz.^' 

^ Example, Aurifaber, ch. 13, no. 39, where Lauterbach's account 
(Bindseil, i, 59) is corrected by Schlaginhaufen's (Preger, no. 522). 

2 Bindseil noted at the end of his third volume the passages trans- 
lated from Lauterbach in the German Tischreden; every new research 
shows more parallels between this edition and the sources. Cf. 
Meyer, p. 33. 

The Printed Editions of the Table Talk 

The result of all this collecting and editing was seen at 
last in July, 1566, when the stout folio appeared at Eisle- 
ben. Aurifaber placed the arms of the Counts of Mans- 
feld on the reverse of the title-page, and dedicated the 
result of his labors comprehensively to ** Den Edelen, 
Ehrenuesten, Erbarn und Wolweisen, Ammeistern, Stadt- 
pflegern, Eldtern, Geheimbten, Burgermeistern, und Rath, 
Der Keisserlichen Reichstedte, Strassburg, Augsburg, Ulm, 
Norimberg, Lubeck, Hamburg, Liineburg, Braunschweig, 
Franckforth am Mayn, und Regensburg, &c., Meinen gross- 
giinstigen Herrn." 

The Preface tells how the Tischreden were collected, and 
gives an exalted appreciation of their value in satisfying 
" geistlichen Hunger und Durst." ^ They at once became 
immensely popular, and were reprinted from this edition in 
five years at least six times. Two of the new editions were 
pirated, and in his own reprint of 1568 Aurifaber bitterly 
complains of this. The book has been exploited, he says, 
by " Master Kliigling, who entered into my labors, changed 
the title and altered much in the book, at sundry times 
enlarging and (supposedly) improving it with new sayings, 
all without my knowledge or approval. . . . But let every 
one know that if there is any one who can improve or add 

1 Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iv, p. xxiii et seq. See Appendix 
for list of editions. 

189] 63 


to the Tischrcdcn, it is I, (I can say it without vainglory) 
for I have enough in MS. to make a new volume, or at 
least greatly enlarge my first one." ^ 

The changes referred to by Aurifaber are hardly so great 
as to justify his language about them. That of the title 
is simply the insertion of Lauterbach's name along with 
that of Aurifaber, certainly justifiable from the amount he 
contributed to it." The other additions and " improve- 
ments " are very slight; it is to Aurifaber's interest, of 
course to exaggerate the faults of " Master Kliigling " in 
order to enhance the genuine worth of his own reprints. 

The next editor was Rebenstock, who got hold of one 
of Lauterbach's redactions and translated the whole thing 
into Latin. His edition never enjoyed much popularity, 
and is now excessively rare. It was used somewhat outside 
of Germany; for example, if we may believe a French trans- 
lator of the Table Talk, by the great Bayle.^ The work 
came out in 1571 in two octavo volumes. 

There is a preface of Rebenstock in a letter to Philip 
Ludwig, Count of Hanoia and Rineck, Lord of Mintzen- 
berg. It is a long exhortation, mingled with sacred history 
and ending with a eulogy of Luther. As to the Colloquies 
he is editing he says : 

A certain pious man, a lover of the Evangelic truth, wrote 
Martin Luther's Colloquies in Latin, but mixed in many Ger- 
man words And when the printers, by the advice of 

1 Ibid., pp. xxvi, xxvii. 

2 The changes are, in fact, so small that Bindseil (ibid.) did not think 
Aurifaber could be referring to them, and looked in vain for some 
other edition which would correspond to his language more accurately. 
It seems to me, however, that it must have been the editions of 1567 
which he referred to. though he made them out worse than they 
really were. 

3 Brunet, Introduction to his Propos de Table. 


learned men, wished to publish the colloquies in Latin, they 
asked me to turn the German words into Latin. ... I never 
proposed to undertake this labor, however, in order to defile 
Luther's pious sayings with other impious and unedifying ones, 
or to add new ones, or to acquire glory and profit to myself 
(as the Sacramentarians and Ranters of to-day presume to do), 
but I proposed to render our master his praise, and so, aided 
by the counsel of learned men, I entered upon the work. . . . 

Dated " Ex Cinericea doma, in die S. Laurentii, 1571," and 
signed " H. P. Rebenstock Escherheymensis Ecclesiae min- 
ister." ' 

This Preface v^^ould seem to show^ that Rebenstock was a 
mere linguistic aid, and not an editor in the proper sense of 
the word.^ He either did not know, or did not reveal, the 
name of the " pius vir " who made the collection, but he 
says in his preface that it was not Aurifaber. We, of 
course, know that it was Lauterbach. 

The first editor to compete with Aurifaber in a German 
edition was Stangwald, Candidate of Theology in Prussia. 
He printed a first edition in 1571 and a second in 1591. He 
took Aurifaber's material, but arranged it in a different 
way, instead of the eighty chapters of Aurifaber, we have 
nine great unnumbered divisions, and forty-three chapters 
under these. He claims to have used Morlin's notations 
to the MS. of Aurifaber, as well as the notes of Mathesius 
and others, and also to have excised some sayings which he 
believed unauthentic. His changes, were, however, very 
slight indeed.^ 


1 Bindseil, vol. i, p. Ixx. ^ Cf. Meyer, loc. cit., p. 6. 

3 Irmischer, Tischreden in S'dmmtliche Werke Luthers, vol. 57, Einl., 
pp. xii-xiv. A full description of all the editions will be found in the 
Appendix. This present chapter aims to give a brief account of each 
edition, and some suggestions as to the critical principles to be applied 
in getting a good edition. 


Nicholaus Selneccer (or Selnecker) was the next editor. 
His edition come out in 1577. He recognized in his title 
that the Tischrcdcn were first collected by Aurifaber, and 
he claims to have brought them into a new order and added 
an index. These claims are unjustified. He merely re- 
prints Stangwald's edition of 1571, which had changed the 
order in Aurifaber's. He was enabled to make this claim by 
the fact that Stangwald had not put his name on the title 
page of his edition of 1571, and it is only by his allusion 
to it in his subsequent edition that we know it was his. It 
was once a question whether this was really his edition or 
Selneccer's; it is now settled that it is Stangwald's.^ 

The first editor to make the German Tischreden a part 
of Luther's Sdmmtliche Werke was Walch, who published 
them 1 740-1 753. They form volume XXH of his edition. 
He gives an account of how they were collected, and a dis- 
cussion of their value in his preface. His labors were con- 
fined to comparing Aurifaber, Stangwald and Selneccer, as 
none of the sources were then known. ^ 

The so-called Stuttgart-Leipzig edition of 1836 is a 
mere reprint of Walch. 

A new edition, on exactly the same plan was undertaken 
in 1844 by K. E. Forstemann. It was based like Walch on 
a comparison of Aurifaber, Stangwald and Selneccer. 
Forstemann died when three volumes of this work had been 
completed, and H. E. Bindseil edited the fourth and last. 
In his preface to this he states the method of his work. He 
compared not only the three editions and Walch, but also 
Luther's letters, and in part the Latin edition (in the MS. 

^ Irmischer, op. cit., vol. 57, p. xiv. Forstemann-Bindseil, o/>. cit, vol. 
iv, Einl., xxxvii. Some of Selneccer's minute changes are given here. 
They are simply verbal. 

2 See infra, Appendix. 


he edited later). He discussed the sources with more 
science than any one had used hitherto, though he knew 
nothing of them except as they were mentioned in Auri- 
faber's preface and Mathesius' sermons. He went as far 
as any one could who had to rely on the old collections, and 
who did not know the sources directly. 

In 1854 Irmischer edited the Tischredcn for the Sdmmt- 
liche Werke, published at Frankfurt-am-Main and Erlangen, 
of which they form six volumes numbered 57 to 62. Irm- 
ischer proceeded on the same critical principles as Walch, 
although they had really been exhausted by previous edi- 
tors. Since then no other work of this kind has been un- 
dertaken. The volume of the Weimar edition which is to 
be dedicated to the Tischreden will be edited on entirely dif- 
ferent principles.^ 

The years 1864-1866 saw a new Latin edition of the 
Table Talk — the first since Rebenstock's. Bindseil edited 
it from a MS. he found in the Library of the Orphan 
Asylum at Halle. He rightly assigned the collection of 
Tischreden found therein to Lauterbach, but was sorely 
puzzled to explain the relations of his MS. with Rebenstock 
on the one hand and Aurifaber on the other.^ He did the 
work of editing thoroughly, pointing out the parallels in 
the German and previous Latin editions. 

The year 1872 marks an era in the publication of the 
Tischreden. Prior to this time the labors of editors had 
been confined to working over and over the old collections, 
especially Aurifaber's. Beginning with the printing of 
Lauterbach's Tagebuch in 1872 the efforts of scholars have 
been turned to the fresher and far more fruitful field of 

1 Cf. infra, p. 54, n. i. 

2 He merely stated the problem without answering it. The answer 
was, as we have seen, given by Meyer. 


the orig^inal notes. J. K. Seidemann ^ was the first to see 
their value, and he edited the best of the sources in the 
Tagebuch mentioned above. He prepared two other MSS. 
for the press, Dietrich's notebook, which has never been 
printed, since Seidemann's unfortunate death interrupted his 
useful labors, and the Analecta which were later published 
by Losche, both men believing them to have been the Mathe- 
sian collection. The value of the Tagebuch was immediately 
recognized by scholars, who saw the relative worthlessness 
of the older collections of Tischreden. Unfortunately 
Seidemann's work on Dietrich, the most valuable source 
now unpublished, has never been taken up again. Seide- 
mann's " diplomatically correct copy " was used by Kostlin 
in his great work. 

In 1885 Wrampelmeyer followed with Cordatus's Tage- 
buch. In the absence of the means of judging it which we 
possess now, he immensely overrated its value ; to him even 
its faults were qualities, proving its authenticity. Some 
of its failings were pointed out by Preger in his edition of 
Schlaginhaufen, some by Kroker in his Mathesian Col- 

Schlaginhaufen's notes found an able editor in 1888 in 
the person of Preger. They at once took their place as 
among the best of the sources, ranking along with Lauter- 
bach's Tagebuch and Dietrich's notes. 

In 1892 Losche edited a rather worthless MS. under the 
title Analecta Lutherana et Melanchthonia, believing it to 
be the Mathesian collection, the existence of which had long 
been known by references to it by Aurifaber and Mathesius 
himself. Losche was lead to this task by his interest in 

^ Losche gives a sketch of Seidemann's labors in this field. Analecta, 
Einl., p. I et seq.; Kostlin, op. cit. (ed. 1889). Vorwort, p. iii, says he 
used Dietrich in Seidemann's copy. 


Mathesius, whose life he had written and whose works he 
had edited. Seidemann had left a correct copy of the MS. 
and pointed out a large number of parallels in the sources. 
In verifying his parallels Losche found three hundred which 
had been overlooked by Seidemann. A later authority 
found that Losche had himself overlooked several hundred.^ 
We have already seen that the MS. was the copy of a copy 
of Mathesius' notebook of 1540. Losche proved this date 
and also that the MS. dated from the last part of the 15th 
century, probably after Mathesius's death in 1565. 

The real Mathesian collection was edited in 1903 by 
Kroker. It is extremely valuable as opening up new 
sources in a reliable copy. 

One attempt, and only one, has hitherto been made to get 
a comprehensive edition of the Tischreden founded on the 
sources. This was undertaken by Professor A. F. Hoppe, 
of St. Louis in the reprint of Walch's Sammtliche Werke. 
under the auspices of the Lutherischer Concordia Verlag, 
1887. The scope of the edition is indicated in its title 
Dr. Martin Luthers Colloquia oder Tischreden; sum 
ersten Male herichtigt und erneuert durch Uebersetsung der 
beiden Hauptquellen der Tischreden aus der lateinischen 
Originalen, ndmlich des Tagebuchs des Dr. Conrad Cor- 
datus Uber Luther 15^/ und des Tagebuchs des M. Anto. 
Lauterbach auf das Jahr 1538. 

In his introduction Professor Hoppe gives a very just 
idea of the worthlessness of the old editions, which are 
nothing but Aurifaber printed over and over again. In- 
deed Aurifaber is very severely treated by the new editor 
who says he handled the originals very arbitrarily, took 
sayings out of their context, made mistakes in reading, in 
dates, in translation, in assigning sayings to wrong per- 

1 Losche, op. cit.y Einl., p. 6; Kroker, loc. cit., Einl., p. 28, note 4. 


sons, in short falsified and altered to suit himself. A glow- 
ing description of the high worth of the two sources used 
is given, taken from the introductions of their editors, and 
then the work of this new edition is described. 520 dupli- 
cates, found either twice in the Tischredcn, or elsewhere 
in the works, are eliminated. The 1843 paragraphs of Cor- 
datus and the 488 paragraphs of Lauterbach are translated 
and incorporated. Twenty-four bits from Khumer (i. e. the 
material printed in Lauterbach's Tagebuch by Seidemann) 
are also used. The Bible quotations have been improved 
by reference to that book. Sayings which are separated in 
Walch are joined, and others which are wrongly joined 
are separated. 

The order in Walch has been maintained, i. e. the topical 
order of Aurifaber. Whenever a parallel to one of his 
sayings has been found in the sources, the account is 
corrected in accordance with the sources or their account 
substituted. The parallels so treated form but a small part 
(perhaps one-tenth) of the whole edition; all sayings which 
have no parallels are reprinted exactly as before, except 
the duplicates which are taken out. A large number of 
sayings in Lauterbach and Cordatus which have no paral- 
lels in Walch are printed in Appendices.^ 

The result is disappointing. This is partly because the 
edition came out before the other sources were known, 
partly from too great conservatism of treatment. The 
bulk of the work is the same, after all. as that in Walch. 
The material from Cordatus and Lauterbach is thrown in 
promiscuously in the old order, which makes it less acces- 
sible and less valuable than in the original form. The esti- 
mate of Cordatus by Wrampelmeyer is taken at its face 
value, and most of his material which we know to be value- 

1 Hoppe, op. cit., Einl., in fine. 


less is inserted as an improvement on Aurifaber. It is 
singular that the editor does not recognize (what he must 
have known) that there were other Hauptquellen, and that 
if Aurifaber is worthless when we can find a parallel to him 
in Lauterbach, he must have been so in other cases. 

The editors of the Weimar edition^ plan to dedicate one 
of their last volumes to the Table Talk, basing it on a 
critical study of the sources. This will certainly be the 
most satisfactory of all the editions; indeed, unless further 
sources are discovered, which is not probable, it should be 
definitive. Let us see what may be hoped from such an 
edition — a convenient way of summing up the results of our 
researches in the sources. 

In the first place the original notes should be the only 
authority used, including among them the notebooks which 
have survived in the Mathesian collection, but excluding 
the collections of Lauterbach and Aurifaber as too un- 

The notebooks should be used with discrimination. 
Those of Dietrich, Schlaginhaufen, Lauterbach, and Mathe- 
sius, are prima facie reliable; the others should be used 
rather as checks on these and as helps in textual criticism 
than for their own independent value, which is slight. 

The MSS. should all be carefully collated, in order to 
get the best text. To do this all parallels must be noted, 
both for the sake of the text and for the dates which are 
indispensable to a really scientific edition. Parallels must, 

1 Professor Drescher, of Breslau, the editor of the Weimar edition, 
has kindly informed me, Hbroug^h the publisihing house of Hermann 
Bohlaus Nachfolger, that the last volume is to he assigned to the TiscJi- 
reden, which will come next after the letters, on which work has already 
been begun. 


of course, be carefully divided into true, apparent, and de- 
rived, and treated accordingly.* 

The chronological order should be preserved. The topi- 
cal was more useful to those whose first purpose was an ex- 
position of doctrine or an authoritative statement in some 
problem of theology, but for the scientific historian, as well 
as for the ordinary reader to-day, the chronological order 
is readily seen to be the best. The source of each saying 
should be indicated. 

An edition on this plan would have a real use. It 
would save the scholar going to a number of sources and 
reading over much of material which is often repetitious. 
By getting it all together it would throw a much stronger 
light on the development of Luther's life and thought than 
the fragmentary sources do. 

Let us see how much time we can expect to be fairly 
covered by the original notes. 

1 531-1533. The notes of Schlaginhaufen can be dated 
with considerable accuracy, and run from November, 1531 
to September, 1532. The notes of Dietrich, which he dates 
on his title-page 1 529-1 535 really fall, with very few ex- 
ceptions between November, 1531 and October, 1533. 
Their order has been restored and their chronology estab- 
lished by Preger.^ 

1 536-1 537. Notes of Lauterbach and Weller in 6th 
section of Mathesius. Fuller parallels and supplementary 
material found in the MS. known as Colloquia Scrotina. 

1538. Lauterbach's Tagebuch, edited by Seidemann. 

1 True parallels being those in which two or more reporters took 
down the same saying; apparent parallels those in which the similarity 
is due to Luther's having repeated the same story more than once; and 
derived parallels those which are due to copying. 

' Preger, op. cit., Einl., p. xxi et seq. See supra, p. 42. 


1539. Copies from Lauterbach's Tagebuch in 5th sec- 
tion of Mathesius. 

1540. Notes of Mathesius in his collection. ist sec- 
tion of Kroker's edition. 

1 542-1 543. Notes of Heydenreich in 2d section of 

1544. Notes of Bcsold in 3d section of Mathesius. 

We must notice that the sources given above shov/ dif- 
ferent degrees of accuracy in dating. Lauterbach's Tage- 
buch of 1338 gives the day on which everything was said; 
in other cases our work has to proceed from internal evi- 
dence, which gives sometimes the exact date, often only 
an approximate date. E. g. we can say that no. 377 in 
Schlaginhaufen was said May 31, 1532, but we can only 
say that nos. 378-548 fell between June and September of 
that year. By a sort of system of interpolation we can get 
the date more nearly; the chances are that a num- 
ber at the beginning of this series fell in June, one in the 
middle in July or August, and one near the end in Septem- 
ber. These dates are sufficiently accurate to give the basis 
of a chronological order of Tischreden. They will be- 
come more and more accurate as more is found out about 
Luther's life, and as parallels from other notebooks, and 
circumstances gathered from the letters and other docu- 
ments are compared with them. 

Secondly, we must observe that quite a number of notes 
can be found outside of these years and the sources indi- 
cated for them which will partly supply the lacunae. Some 
of those in Cordatus can be dated; a few other dates are 
given in Dietrich, others in the fourth section of the Mathe- 
sian collection. Great caution should be used in the in- 
sertion of such notes ; isolated sayings in an unchronological 
source should not be given the same weight as those which 
have, so to speak, a strong presumptive case from the fact 


that they stand in a source which arranges its notes chrono- 
logically. Still, with care, many notes can be rescued from 
the sources which will partly fill up the blank spaces. 

For the early thirties Dietrich, Schlaginhaufen and Cor- 
datus are the sources. By collation of the three much may 
be gained. \\t often find little groups of chronologically 
ordered sayings which supply and complement each other 
What cannot be got into chronological order should ba put 
into an appendix labelled, Sayings prior to 1537 from Cor- 
datus, Dietrich and Schlaginhaufen.^ 

The notes from 1 536-1 540 can be dated with great ac- 
curacy, and leave little to be desired. They are also full. 

It is for the last years of Luther's life that the chrono- 
logy of the notes is hardest to determine. Those of 
Heydenreich are rather uncertain, sparse, and known only 
in a copy. Those of Plato are altogether unreliable, being 
mainly extracts from others. Those of Stolz and Auri- 
faber have become irrecoverably lost in the collection of the 
latter. Those sayings which cannot be dated must be rele- 
gated to an appendix. The smaller their number is the 
nearer will the edition reach the desired goal. 

Such an edition would do away with the doubt and hesi- 
tation with which we now have to read the Table Talk. 
Any one who has carefully examined the best sources will 
surely feel that we must give them the same degree of con- 
fidence at least that we give to Luther's sermons ; and in 
a source of Luther's life so rich in material, such an in- 
crease in certainty will be an immense gain. 

The source of each saying should be indicated, as a 
means of judging of its worth. In summing up we may 
say that the greatest faith can be placed in Lauterbach, Die- 
trich and Schlaginhaufen, and only a little less in Mathesius, 

1 Cf. Kroker, op. cit., p. 63. 


Besold and Heydenreich. Cordatiis, Weller and Plato are 
untrustworthy, but with discrimination much of vakie may 
be abstracted from them. The collections of Lauterbach 
and Aurifaber are practically useless. The more we com- 
pare them with the originals, the deeper they sink in our 
estimation. But a complete edition would have to take 
from them all that could not be found in better form some- 
where else, printing it as so much new material, inferior in 
value to the sources, but not negligible.^ 

1 Cf. Kroker, op. cit., pp. 64, 65 ; Meyer, loc. cit., p. 36. 


The Translations 

There have been two principal translations of the Tis- 
chreden into English, and a number of minor ones. The 
first/ made by Captain Henry Bell, was printed at London 
in 1652. The Translator's Preface is interesting. It 
begins : 

I, Captain Henry Bell, do hereby declare, both to the present 
age and also to posterity, that being employed beyond the seas 
in state affairs years together, both by King James and also by 
the late King Charles, in Germany, I did hear and understand, 
in all places, great bewaiHng and lamentation made, by reason 
of the destroying and burning above fourscore thousand of 
Martin Luther's books, entitled. His Last Divine Discourses . . . 

This book did so forward the Reformation, that the Pope 
then living, vis., Gregory XIII, understanding what great hurt 

^ Colloquia Mensalia; or, Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther, 
at his Table, which in his Lifetime he held with divers Learned Men, 
such as were Philip Melanchthon, Casparus Cruciger, Justus Jonas, 
Paulus Eberus, Vitus Dietericus, Johannes Bugenhagen, Johannes For- 
sterus, and Others. Containing Questions and Anszvers Touching Re- 
ligion and other main points of Doctrine; as also Many Notable His- 
tories, and all sorts of Learning, Comforts, Advices, Prophecies, Ad- 
monitions, Directions, Instructions, Collected first together by Dr. An- 
tonius Lauterbach, and afterwards disposed into certain Commonplaces 
by Dr. John Aurifaber, D. D. This title is followed by six quotations 
as to the utility of sacra ad mensam. A very learned " Epistle Dedi- 
catorie to the Right Honorable John Kendrick, Lord Major, The Right 
Worshipful the Sheriffs and Aldermen, the Common Council, and other 
Worthie Senators and Citizens of the famous Citie of London," signed 
by Thomas Thorowgood, is then inserted. 

76 [202 

203] '^^^ TRANSLATIONS yy 

and prejudice he and his popish reUgion had already received, 
by reason of the said Luther's Divine Discourses, and also fear- 
ing the same might bring further contempt and mischief upon 
himself, and upon the Popish Church, he, therefore, to prevent 
the same, did fiercely stir up and instigate the Emperor then 
in being, viz., Rudolphus II, to make an edict throughout the 
whole Empire, that all the aforesaid printed books should be 

burnt M^hich edict was speedily put into execution 


It pleased God, however, that in 1626 one of Bell's Ger- 
man friends should find one of the aforesaid printed books 
in a deep obscure hole, and being afraid to keep it, because 
Ferdinand II was a severe persecutor of the Protestant Re- 
ligion, and at the same time calling to mind that Bell " had 
the High Dutch Tongue very perfect," sent it to him to 
translate into English. 

Bell was warned by a vision that he should translate it, 
and shortly after he was committed to the Keeper of Gate- 
House, Westminster, on a warrant which was not shown 
him, and kept there in prison ten whole years, the first five 
of which he spent translating the book. 

" Then after I had finished the said translation in prison, 
the late archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Laud, understanding 
that I had translated such a book, called Martin Luther's 
Divine Discourses, sent unto me his chaplain Dr. Bray " to 
request the perusal of the book. After some demur Bell 
sent the book which Laud kept two years and then returned 
under fear that the Commons would call him to account. 

And presently, when I was set at liberty by warrant from 
the whole house of Lords, according to his majesty's direction 
in that behalf; but shortly afterwards the archbishop fell into 
his troubles, and was by the parliament sent unto the Tower, 
and afterwards beheaded. Insomuch that I could never since 
hear anything touching the printing of my book. 


The House of Commons having then notice that I had trans- 
lated the aforesaid book, they sent for me, and did appoint a 
committee to see it, and the translation, and diligently to en- 
quire whether the translation did agree with the original or 
no ; whereupon they desired me to bring the same before them, 
sitting then in the Treasury Chamber. And Sir Edward Bear- 
ing being chairman, said unto me, that he was acquainted with 
a learned minister beneficed in Essex, who had lived long in 
England, but was iborn in High Germany, in the Palatinate, 
named Mr. Paul Amiraut, wdiom the committee sending for, 
desired him to take both the original and translation into his 
custody, and diligently to compare them together, and to make 
report unto the said committee whether he found that I had 
rightly and truly translated it according to the original ; which 
report he made accordingly, and they being satisfied therein, 
referred it to two of the assembly, Mr. Charles Herle and Mr. 
Edward Corbet, desiring them diligently to peruse the same, 
and to make report unto them if they thought it fitting to be 
printed and published. 

Whereupon they made report, dated the loth of November, 
1646, that they found it to be an excellent divine work, worthy 
the light and publishing, especially in regard that Luther, in 
the said Discourses, did revoke his opinion, which he formerly 
held, touching Consubstantiation in the Sacrament. Where- 
upon the House of Commons, the 24th of February, 1646, did 
give order for the printing thereof. 

Given under my hand the third day of July, 1650. 

Henry Bell. 

This account is such a tissue of mistakes and im- 
probabilities that it is hardly worth serious criticism. 
It is clear both from the absence of all other evidence, and 
the large number of early editions of Luther's Tischredcn 
which have come down to us. that no such order was ever 
issued by Rudolph H as that which Bell describes. The ten 
years' arbitrary imprisonment is so improbable that it may 


be dismissed.* The whole thing has the air of being in- 
vented to heighten the interest of the translation; even the 
vision of the old man does not seem to be a genuine bit of 

The introduction is followed by the Report of the Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons, which gives an inter- 

Testimonie and Judgment: Wee iinde many excellent divine 
things are conteined in the Book worthie the light and publick 
view. Amongst which, Luther professeth that he acknowledg- 
eth his error which hee formerly held touching the real pres- 
ence corporaliter in Coena Domini. 

But wee finde withal many impertinent things : som things 
which will require a grain or two of Salt, and som things which 
will require a Marginal note or a Preface. 

A " Marginal note " is herewith added by the Committee : 

And no marvel, that among so much serious discourse in mat- 
ters of religion, sometimes at Table som impertinent things 
might intermix themselves and som things liberius dicta to re- 
create and refresh the Companie. 

Then comes the order of the Commons to print it, and 
then a short extract from Aurifaber called " Testimonie of 

1 Arbitrary imprisonment was resorted to at this time, but only in 
important political cases, such as those of Pym and Eliot. It is pos- 
sible that Bell may have been really imprisoned for some cause he pre- 
fers not to mention. Hazlitt says in a note that the cause was that he 
pressed for the paymemt of arrears in his salary, an explanation for 
which he gives no authority. 

This Preface worried Walch (op. cit., vol. xxii, Einl., pp. 17, 18) a 
good deal. He had not seen the original, ibut quotes from a partial 
translation of J. Beaumont, whose interest in it was- due to the super- 
natural phenomenon recounted. (Tractat von Geistern, Erscheinungen, 
&c., iii, 73-) 


Aurifaber in his Preface to his Book " and notes from 
"W.D.". "J.L." and " J.D.". Then Aurifaber's preface, 
dated 1569, in full. 

The same Eighty Chapters are here as in Aurifaber, but 
the order is somewhat changed. The XlXth Caption is 
changed from " Vom Sacrament des Alters des waren Leibs 
und Bluts Christi " to " Of the sacrament of the Lord's 

There is an appendix of Luther's Prophecies. The 
Imprimatur, at the end, is dated August, 1650, signed by 
John Downame. 

Comparison shows that this was translated from one of 
Aurifaber's editions; it is nearest like that of 1571 (See 
Appendix p. 121).^ The translation is not complete, a very 
rough guess would be that two-thirds of the original was 
translated. The omissions were made with the purpose of 
pleasing the theologians of that day and place. Much of 
the chapter on The Sacrament is omitted, but I can find 
nothing in it to justify the Committee's opinion that Luther 
retracted his former error on this point.' 

This translation was reprinted 1791 with " The Life 
and Character of Dr. Martin Luther: by John Gottlieb 
Burckhardt, D. D., minister of the German Lutheran Con- 
gregation at the Savoy, in London " prefixed. In this 
edition, between pages iv and v of Bell's narrative there 
is a " Picture of Popery " by John Ryland in four pages. 
It is in the good old-fashioned style of invective. In this 

1 Points of resemblance are : Mention of Lauterbach's and Auri- 
faber's name on titlepage; date of preface 1569; Prophecies at the end, 
and others less striking. 

2 Bell himself implies the Committee had told him that Luther had re- 
tracted on this point. Walch, op. cit., vol. xxii, p. 18, speaks of the 
charge and indignantly denies it. 


edition the chapter on Witchcraft was left out, as well as 
the Report of the Committee of the Commons, and the 
Dedicatory Epistle and Testimonies. This translation was 
reprinted again in 1818. 

Another partial translation, Choice Fragments from the 
Discourses of Litther, was published in 1832. The trans- 
lator, who does not give his name, was a zealous Protes- 
tant and a decorous, conventional Englishman. He sup- 
pressed with the greatest care whatever really showed the 
free, joyous and somewhat coarse character of Luther, and 
in his translation we see him transformed into an English 
clergyman with an unctuous regard for the proprieties, 
polished, well brought up, grave and formal in his conver- 

The Tischreden were translated a third time by William 
Hazlitt, son of the celebrated essayist, in 1848. The pre- 
face is taken half from Bell's narrative, which is quoted 
without comment in an abridged form, and half from the 
preface to Brunet's French translation, adding to the er- 
rors of the sources several of the author's own. He does 
not acknowledge his indebtedness to Brunet, but follows 
him in calling " Selneccer " " Selneuer " and in giving 
Stangwald's edition of 1591 as of 1590. From Brunet he 
quotes Fabricius, Ccntifoliiun Lutheranum, as though he 
had seen the book himself. From Brunet he gets the anec- 
dote of Luther's throwing the gruel into his disciple's face, 
but he adds without any authority whatever that it was "told 
by Luther himself to Dr. Zincgreff " (who was born 

^This trariGlation is in the Lenox Library. My characterization is 
taken from Brunet, Propos de Table, Introduction, p. 18: "II a sup- 
prime avec le plus grand soin tout ce qui montre dans son interieur le 
pere de la reforme ; il a voulu le peindre en beau ; il en fait un preben- 
dier anglicain, poli, bien eleve, a la parole grave," etc. 


half a century after Luther's death).' A translation of 
Aurifaber's preface is given, but only a selection of the Tisch- 
redcn, embracing perhaps a fourth of the material found 
in Aurifaber. The style of the English is excellent, col- 
loquial and yet smooth. It seems to have been made from 
the German (though Hazlitt tells us he had compared the 
translations of Michelet vi^ith his own) and is sufficiently 

This work has reappeared a number of times. Others 
of minor importance have been made, among which 
may be mentioned a number of books either translated from 
Michelet's Vie de Martin Luther par lui-meme or closely 
modelled on it. Hazlitt Englished this work, others pub- 

1 Hazlitt, Luther's Table Talk, Introduction, p. 10 (ed. of 1848) : 
"An anecdote told by Luther himself to Dr. Zincgreff, amusingly illus- 
trates the assiduity of these German Boswells. During a colloquy, in 
which Dominus Martinus was exhibiting his wonted energy and vivacity, 
he observed a disciple hard at work with pencil and paper. The Doctor, 
slily filling his huge wooden spoon with the gruel he was discussing by 
way of supper, rose, and going to the absorbed note-taker, threw the 
gruel in his face, and said, laughing lustily: 'Put that down too!'" 
Hazlitt gives no authority for this story, which he probably took from 
a footnote in Brunet's Introduction, (but I have found it in Dr. J. W. 
ZincgrefT's Teutscher Nation Apophthegmata, p. 252, where it is in the 
following form: "Al« er [sc. Luther] eines jungen Studenten eines 
rechten Speichelleckers beym Tisch gewahr wurde, dir hinder ihm 
stund und alles was er redte ohn verstand oder unterscheid in seine 
Schreibtafel aufgezeichnete, verdrosse ihm sehr, Hess mit Fleiss einen 
grueltzen driiber und Sagte : ' Schreib diesen auch auf!'" Zincgreflf 
gives no authority. I have not been able to find the story in the Tisch- 
reden or any of Luther's works, and it has no intrinsic probability. We 
have no other instance of Luther indulging in a practical joke. The 
story is quoted literally and without remark by Brunet. It is Hazlitt 
who is responsible for the addition that Luther himself told it to Zinc- 
greff, which is impossible, as the latter was born in 1591. Besides 
noticing the lack of critical discernment, it is interesting to see how the 
anecdote grew in Hazlitt's translation. 

- In his translation of Michelet's book referred to just below, he says 
he compared Bell's, Michelet's, Audin's, artd his own. 

209] ^^^ TRANSLATIONS 83 

lished books with the same title either with or without 
acknowledgment of the source/ 

A considerable number of Luther's sayings are trans- 
lated into French by the celebrated historian Jules Michelet 
in a book entitled Memoires de Luther ecrits par lui- 
menie; traduits et mis en ordre par M. Michelet .... 
Paris, 1835. The author's preface testifies to his admir- 
ation of the reformer, although he is not a Protestant. The 
work consists of extracts from Luther's writings and Table 
Talk passim. Bk., IV, however, consists entirely of ex- 
tracts from the Table Talk, to illustrate Luther's family 
life, and opinions about marriage, children, nature and the 
Bible, the Fathers, schoolmen. Pope, councils, universities, 
arts, music and preaching. The chapter ends with Luther's 
admission of his own violence and a rather feeble transla- 
tion of the passage in which Luther says he must have pa- 
tience with the Pope and Kathe. The appendix (p. xci) 
describes Aurifaber's edition of the Tischreden^ 

The first (and perhaps the only) attempt to translate 
a considerable portion of the Tischreden into French in a 
volume by themselves, was made by Gustave Brunet: Les 
Propos de Table de Martin Luther, revus sur les editions 
originales et traduites pour la premiere fois en frangais. 
Paris, 1844. The introduction is bright, but uncritical. 
After an eloquent appreciation of the value of the Table 
Talk and an apology for its occasional coarseness, the au- 
thor tells us how the sayings were collected, repeating the 

1 Full list of these in Appendix. 

2 From which we may infer that it was used. Other Tischreden ap- 
peared in French in J. M. V. Audin: Histoire de la vie, des ouvrages 
et des doctrines de Luther, 1839. Tlhese are spoken of by Hazlitt 
{supra, note i). Audin was a Catholic historian. The work is in the 
Astor Library. 


anecdote of Zincgreff, but without any reference except the 
name. A short account of the work of Michelet and Audin 
is followed by an equally brief description of the German 
editions, in which the same mistakes are made as were made 
four years later by Hazlitt, who probably copied from him. 
Selneccer appears as Selneuer, the edition of 1591 appears 
as 1590, and the first volume of Rebenstock is assigned to 
.1558, an error not corrected in any account until Bindseil's 
Colloquia appeared, in 1863. An account is given of the 
English translation of Bell, and of that of 1832. 

The translator claims to have compared the editions and 
to have selected the best text. He changed the order of the 
other editions entirely, writing solely from the point of 
view of interest. His principle of selection is the opposite 
of that of Hazlitt, the more spicy a thing is the more relish 
it has for him. His copious notes make the work more 
readable. He begins with a chapter on " Le diable, les 
sorcieres, les incubes &c." This is followed by one entitled 
" Contes, apologues et joyeux devis." The worst of these 
he inserts in the notes in Latin, remarking " qu'ils ont tout 
I'air d'une page des faceties de Pogge ou des nouvelles de 
Morlino." Next to the " petits contes polissons " the au- 
thor likes best those in which Luther talked about his 
enemies, or showed himself the victim of some superstition. 


The Table Talk in Literature 

The period of the Reformation in Germany was one of 
great literary as well as great spiritual activity. Not since 
the efi^orescence of lyric and epic poetry in the thirteenth 
century, nor again until the latter part of the eighteenth, 
do we find anything equal in quantity and power to the 
literary output of this great age. True, no world poet ap- 
peared who contends the palm with Goethe and Schiller or 
even with Gottfried von Strassburg and Walther von der 
Vogelweide : " the Aristophanic age produced no Aristo- 
phanes," ^ but nevertheless the literature of the Reformation 
is full of significance, vitality and charm. 

The characteristics of the time were intense nationalism, 
strong religious feeling, and a powerful appeal to the com- 
mon man, in fact intensity in all forms, which often showed 
itself in bitter satire and mocking laughter. The title of 
Pauli's farcical stories, Schimpf ttnd Ernst — mocking jest 
and earnest mingled, might well be the motto of the age. 
Here, as in the tales of Glaus Narr, the romances, the plays, 
many of them, of Hans Sachs, and the fable of Reinecke 
Fuchs and those attributed to Aesop, we see the appeal to 
the peasant, the common man, over against the old aristo- 
cracy. Sometimes the appeal was not to the peasant's best 
side — the adventures of Till Eulenspiegel show how a clever 

^ Scherer, Geschichte d. dcut. Literatur. 
211] 8s 


scamp outwits his superiors, and the apotheosis of coarse- 
ness in St. Grobianus, a character invented by Brandt in his 
famous satire the Ship of Fools, was typical of the least 
pleasant side of the exuberant vitality which made itself 
manifest everywhere.* 

The fiery dialogues of Hutton, as well as the appeals 
of Luther and a host of less famous men, show how deeply 
rooted was the nationalism which rebelled against the crafty 
domination of foreigners; but deepest and loudest of all was 
the cry for a purer religion and a more vital faith. The 
satirization of the clergy had been common since the time 
of Walther von der Vogelweide at least, but the number 
and bitterness of these satires increased in the sixteenth 
century. The polished wit of Erasmus supplied to the up- 
per class wdio could appreciate his Latin style what the 
Litterac Obscuroriim Viroriim of Rubianus and his colla- 
borators gave to the students, and such popular PasquUle as 
Die Krankhcit der Messe and Der Ciirtisan mid Pfriinden- 
fresser furnished to those who could read only German. 

Of this wonderful time Luther was the heart and soul. 
How tremendous was the place he filled in the hearts of his 
countrymen may be seen by the popularity of his works, 
as well as by the frequency of literary allusion to him. 
The press was full of such little pamphlets as Luther's Pas- 
sion, and even the plays were deeply influenced by his 
teaching.^ None of Luther's works was more popular than 
his Table Talk, published, as we have seen, by Aurifaber, in 
1566. Before the century was over no less than twelve 

^ Dedekind, in 1549, wrote a poem on St. Grobianus, who is always 
appearing elsewhere. The same spirit is seen in Fischer's translation of 

2 Very many such pamphlets are reproduced in O. Schade's Satiren 
und PasquUle aus der Reformationzeit. For the influence on the drama, 
see below on the Franckfurt Faust. 


editions were called for in German, besides the Latin trans- 

The cause of their popularity is not hard to discover. In 
reading them we have the concentrated spirit of the six- 
teenth century, the love of anecdote and satire, the popular 
note, the strong national and religious feeling, and even 
the flavor of " grobianism " which nothing escaped. Be- 
sides all this, there is the personal interest, which is perhaps 
the chief one to-day, and was not less powerful then; the 
same sort of interest which will always make Eckermann's 
Gesprdche mit Goethe, or Bourienne's Memoires of Napo- 
leon widely read. We see the great man's daily life and 
intimate thoughts portrayed with a frankness and unre- 
serve which are refreshing. 

In reading the Table Talk we are constantly reminded of 
the dialogues and satires so common and so popular at that 
time. Occasional allusions to Grobianus, the frequent ap- 
pearance of stories about animals, and the perpetual invec- 
tive against Rome and the clergy, — all these are revelations 
of the Zeitgeist which appears in all the literary produc- 
tions of the time.^ Luther, however, not only borrowed 
much from his contemporaries, but greatly enriched their 
speech in return. Even his casual utterances often im- 
pressed themselves on the speech of his countrymen, and at- 
tained a proverbial currency. Such sayings as : 

1 See Appendix for these editions. The popularity of the work seems 
to have borne some relation to the general literary activity of the coun- 
try; there were only four editions in the seventeenth century, two in 
the eighteenth, and more than nine in the nineteenth, not counting five 
editions of sources. 

2 For Grobianus, cf. Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. 1738. Cf. Luther's 
animal fables, e, g., Seidemann, op. cit., p. 114, et saepe, with such 
satires as, " Ein Gesprech eines Fuchs und Wolfs," in Schade, op. cit., 
vol. ii, no. iii. Cf. also ibid., vol. i, no. i : " Ein Clag und Bitt der 
deutschen Nation," with such of Luther's sayings as Seidemann, op. cit., 
p. 10. 

1 1 


Friihe aufstehen und jung freien 
Soil niemands gereuen/ 


Wer will haben rein sein haus 

Der behalt Pfaffen und Monche draus,^ 

are good examples. Some sayings found in his conversation 
have been such as he disapproved and refuted, though even 
thus they took a lasting form in the way he quoted them. 
Such, for example is the: 

Bleibe gem allein, 

So bleiben euer Herzen rein.' 

Perhaps the most famous of his authentic sayings is one 
which is thoroughly characteristic of the apostle of marri- 
age and the domestic virtues as against the Catholic ideal 
of celibacy: 

^ Xanthippus : " Gute alte deutsche Spriiche," in Preussische Jahr- 
biicher, vol. 85 (July to Sept., 1896), three articles, pp. 149, 344, and 
503 respectively. This saying is on p. 351, quoted from Forstemann- 
Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iv, p. 41. 

2 Ibid., p. 363, quoting Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 407. 

3 Ibid., p. 151, quoting Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 164. 
Other examples are given elsewhere, e. g., p. 505. Zincgreff, in his 
Teutschcr Nation Apophthcgmata, gives some proverbs of Luther, which 
appear to be mainly apocryphal. Like other great men, Luther had say- 
ings fathered upon him which were not genuine. Such is the celebrated 

" Wer liebt nicht Wein, Weib und Gesang, 
Der bleibt ein Narr sein Lebenslang." 

It is not found in any of Luther's works, nor in the Tabic Talk, and 
was first printed, as far as known, in 1775, in Wandsbecker Botcn. Cf. 
Kostlin, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 678, note to p. 507. The verse has just 
enough of Luther's spirit to make it a good caricature. 


Nicht liebers auf Erden 

Denn Frawenlieb wems kann werden,^ 

A still profounder influence is seen in the coloring taken 
from the Tischreden by the Faust written anonymously and 
produced at Frankfurt in 1587. This, of course, is doubly 
interesting as bringing the work into a direct relation with 
the greatest masterpiece of German literature. In this play 
Mephistopheles " takes many sententious rimes from 
Brandt's Narrenschiif and Luther's Tischreden." ^ The 
author makes Faust's fall from grace an apostasy from the 
Wittenberg theology, and his repentence is taken from ex- 
pressions of Luther's in the Table Talk, 

The brilliant literary promise of the sixteenth century 
was sadly disappointed in the seventeenth and early eigh- 
teenth. It really seemed as if the Thirty Years' War had 
blasted all the artistic powers which were so strongly de- 
veloped before it. The nation looked to France for its 
literature and canons of taste, and the Table Talk fell into 
the obscurity which most German works shared in this 
period. Something of a revival is seen in the renewed in- 

1 Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iv, pp. 75, Xanthippus, he. cit., p. 
346. The enemies of Luther have twisted this into a confession of 
sensuality. The same idea of Luther as an apostle of the joys of the 
flesh is exhibited by one who was no enemy of his, the once celebrated 
Philarete Chasle, in an article called " La Renaissance Sensuelle," in 
Revue des Deux Mondes, March, 1842, where he compares him to Rabe- 
lais, Skelton and Folengo. 

2 Schmidt : " Faust und Luther," in Sitzungsberichte d. k. Preuss. 
Akad. d. Wiss. The author collects a large number of parallel passages 
which show how much Faust was influenced by the Tischreden. Minor 
points are that the devil appears to Faust as he had to Luther; Helena 
is modelled on Luther's idea of a succubus; Faust's impression of Rome 
is taken from Luther's words on the .same, and also his estimate of the 
" frankly swinish " life of the Turks. See especially pp. 568, 571. 


terest taken in it in the nineteenth century, not only in Ger- 
many ^ but in other countries as well.^ 

We have spoken of those qualities of the Tischreden 
which are due to its environment and make it interesting 
as a typical product of the age; let us now turn to some of 
its individual peculiarities. 

In the first place the Table Talk is not a literary work, in 
the narrow sense of that term, at all. In an age of rough- 
ness and bad literary form it has not even the polish of 
Luther's written works, or of the dialogues or plays with 
which we have been comparing it. The first thing which 
strikes us on opening one of the sources (not Aurifaber) is 
the mixture of languages spoken by the company. Latin 
and German are so easily interchangeable that a sentence 
is often begun in one and ended in the other. " Christus 
is unzuverstehen, quia est deus " ; ^ " Mein ganz Leben ist 
eitel patientia." * It is almost superfluous to give examples 
of so common a phenomenon. 

The reason of this was simply that both languages were 

^ An unfavorable estimate of the Table Talk, together with the idea 
that it had a strong influence in fixing the German burger type, is 
found in Lavisse & Ramibaud, Histoire Generale, iv, p. 423. The num- 
ber of editions (see supra, p. 69, n. 2) shows their popularity. 

- For translations, see Appendix. Brunet {Propos de Table, Intro- 
duction) says that Bayle commented on them. See Hereford, Literary 
Relations of England and Germany in the Sixteenth Century. 

3 Preger, op. cit., no. 301. 

* Bindseil, Colloquia, vol. iii, p. 167. That this was their ordinary 
method of talking can be seen not only from the Table Talk, but from 
the testimony of Jonas, who tells us (Letter of July 6. 1537, quoted by 
Meyer, loc. cit., p. 4) that he found Luther sick in bed " nunc Deum 
Patrem nunc Christum Dominum. nunc Latine nunc Germanice invo- 
cantem." This mixture, which we call macaronic, and the Germans 
tnessingisch (Kroker, op. cit., p. 5), would have appeared less strange 
even in a literary work at that time. Among numerous examples of it 
I will cite only the well-known Carmina Burana. 


equally familiar, and the attempt to discover any other rea- 
son is unnecessary. Wrampelmeyer ^ is led by his patriot- 
ism to the discovery that German is the language used to 
express the main thought, an idea which seems to me fanci- 
ful. Losche thinks Latin v^as used largely to spare the 
women's ears what they should not hear." This is a nine- 
teenth-century idea, which would be entirely alien to the 
sixteenth. The precaution would have been useless, for 
Kathe, at least, knew enough Latin to keep up with the 
conversation.^ Then again Luther took no pains to avoid 
remarks to or about her which shock our fastidious de- 
corum, though they certainly would not have appeared ob- 
jectionable to the most cultivated taste of Luther's time.* 
In general the students put down the sayings in the lan- 
guage in which they were uttered, as would usually be the 
easier thing to do, but sometimes they translated a German 
remark into Latin which they could write faster. For the 
same reason they would put all their own remarks in that 
tongue, and all matter supplied by them, such as details 
of time, place, and occasion. One instance in which they 
clearly translated Luther's remarks is that in which he is 
represented as consoling his poor old dying Muhme Lehna 
in the learned tongue which must have been unfamiliar to 
her.® Sometimes Greek® and even Hebrew are introduced, 

1 Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., Einl., p. 34. 

2 Losche, Analecta, Einl., p. 3. ^ Kroker, op. cit., no. 3. 

* E. g., Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. 1597; Preger, op. cit., no. 419. 

^ Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 217. Cf. ibid., p. 213, where he consoles 
Cranach in the same tongue. 

^ Kroker, op. cit., no. 3. An example of the use of Hebrew is found 
in the introduction of the word Scheflimini (Shebh I'mini, quoted from 
Psalm ex. i) in Kroker, op. cit., no. 242 (and thence taken into Auri- 
faber, Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. i, p. 322) without any indi- 
cation, to the layman, of its meaning or language. I am indebted to 
my father's knowledge of Hebrew for its translation : " Sit thou on my 
right hand I" 


though only by way of short quotations. One of these 
was made apparently to tease Kathe, who goodhumoredly 
responded: "Good Heavens! Who said that?" The 
striking similarity of the Greek and German speech was 
pointed out by the reformer, who proved it by such examples 
as the cognate words vjrip, firrd and avv, and iiber, mitt and 
sampt, and the augment as seen in yi:ypa(pa and geschrieben.^ 

Luther's colloquial German is very racy, with marked 
dialectical and conversational peculiarities. He evidently 
took no such care in his oral as he did in his written lan- 
guage to adopt the purest idiom. All this, as well as the 
frequent anacoluthon and solecism found in the original 
notes is smoothed off and standardized, so to speak, in the 
collection of Aurifaber.^ 

It is perhaps partly because of the lack of literary form 
in the Table Talk that we get such a perfect picture of 
Luther in it. Here we see him in all the simplicity and 
naivete of his large-hearted German nature. " God has 
commanded us " he says, " that we should be simple, open, 
and true." ^ When Kathe was ill God made her well 
again, he who always gives what is best for his children 
and more than they can ask.* How fresh is this picture: 

On the Sunday after St. Michael's day he was happy in mind, 
and joked with his friends and with me (Mathesius), and 
disparaged his own learning: "I am a fool," said he, "and 
you are cunning and wiser than I in economy and politics. 
For I do not apply myself to such things, but only to the 
Church and to getting the best of the Devil. I believe, how- 
ever, if I did give myself to other sorts of business I could 
master them. But as I attend only to what is plain to view, 

1 Seidemann, op. cit., p. 30. - See Opitz, Luthers Sprache. 

3 Kroker, op. cit., no. 48. 

* Ibid., no. 28. See also Preger, op. cit., no. 6. 


any one can get the better of me, until, indeed, I see he is a 
thief, and then he can't cheat me." ^ 

Luther is as frank as he is simple ; there is nothing in his 
own life, no opinion of men or books,^ no recess of religious 
feeling which he is not willing to talk about. His Table 
Talk outdoes Rousseau in frankness, though it must always 
be remembered that Luther would never have thought of 
publishing the details of his life which Rousseau made the 
materials of his confessions. One passage, which also 
casts an interesting sidelight on Luther's marriage, is too 
good not to be quoted. 

He spoke as follozvs [in 1538] of his ozvn marriage: Had I 
wished to marry fourteen years ago I should have chosen the 
wife of Basilius, Anna of Schonfeld. I never loved my own 
wife, but suspected her of being proud, as she is ; but God 
willed that I should show mercy to the poor fugitive, and by 
his grace it turned out that my marriage was most happy.^ 

This must not be taken to indicate that Luther did not love 

1 " Sontag post Michaelis ex animo laetus erat et jocabatur cum 
amicis et mecum et extenuebat suam eruditionem : * Ich bin alber, saget 
er, und ir seit ein schalck und gelerter als ich in rebus oeconomicis et 
politicis. Denn ich nim mich der sachen nicht an und hab mit der 
ecclesia zu schaffen, und muss dem Teuffel auf die schantze sehen. 
[See Grimm, Deutsches Worterbuch, vol. viii, p. 2164.] Das glaub ioh, 
wenn ich mich auf die andern hendeln gebe, ich wolts auch mercken. 
Ich glaub eim itzlichen, drumb kan man mich wol bescheissen; alsbaldt 
ich mich aber fur einem iiirsehe, der nimpt mir nichts.' " Kroker, op. 
cit., no. 430. 

2 His free criticism of the Bible is well known. See e. g., a liberal 
opinion of Ezekiel in Preger, op. cit., no. 37. 

3 Khumer, p. 381, quoted by Seidemann, op. cit., p. 162. note. A 
confused account of the same is given in Bindseil, op. cit., ii, 23^- 
Kostlin (op. cit., vol. i, p. 762) quotes from Bindseil, and hence gets 
the wrong account, giving the name "Ave" instead of "Anna." 


his wife after their marriage; the Table Talk is full of in- 
stances of exemplary conjugal devotion and he told Die- 
trich he would not change Kathe for France and Venice/ 

Sometimes this simplicity shows itself in a sort of 
naivete and lack of the critical point of view. 

I would give the world [he says] to have the stories of the 
antediluvian patriarchs also, so that we could see how they 
lived, preached, and suffered. ... I have taught and suffered 
too, but only fifteen, or twenty, or thirty years ; they lived 
seven or eight hundred or more, and how they must have 
suffered ! ^ 

His way of regarding the French mode of address is hardly 
more sophisticated. 

The question was mooted whether it was a sin to curse a 
Frenchman. For they themselves have the custom of greet- 
ing their dearest friends with a curse, as " Pest and pox take 
you, sir!" Was it, then, a sin when the mind was free from 
hatred ? He replied : " Our speech should be Yea and Nay, 
and the name of the Lord is not to be taken in vain. But it 
may be that their curses are more innocent than many a good- 
morning with us." ^ 

In oral discourse the Reformer showed a marked predi- 
lection for the sententious style. Apophthegm and anecdote 
abound in the Colloquies. Many of those good stories cur- 
rent with us, whose origin is lost in the dimness of antiquity, 
appear in some form or other. The anecdote of the em- 
peror who considered himself superior by his official posi- 
tion to the rules of grammar, last used to attack President 

1 Dietrich. Dec. 3, 1534. Quoted Kostlin, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 497. 

2 Bindseil. op. cit., vol. i, p. 82. 

3 Seidemann, op. cit., p. 85. 


Roosevelt's spelling reform, is related by Luther and attri- 
buted to Sigismund.^ Another story, current before his 
time, and taken from him by Browning is that of the two 
brothers Date and Dabitur vobis} 

One of the pleasantest qualities of the Table Talk is the 
humor which is constantly appearing. Unfortunately most 
of the witticisms have been eliminated from the later col- 
lections, with their serious purpose of edification, and can 
only be read in the sources. Luther was naturally of a 
joyous disposition, " ein hurtiger und frohlicher junger 
Gesell," as Mathesius calls him.^ Much of the exuberance 
of his high spirits, which had been crushed out in his youth 
by physical and mental suffering appeared fully in his later 

Joy and good humor with reverence and moderation is the 
best medicine for a young man — yea, for all men. I, who 
have passed my life with mourning and a sad face, now seek 
and accept joy wherever I can find it.* 

His jokes were never ''practical" or rough, but they were 
often personal, as when he compares Pommer's preaching to 
an underdone meal.^ He loved to poke good-humored 
fun at Kathe, who took it well and showed by her 
quick wit in repartee she did not get the worst of it.® Her 
loquacity, real or imagined, was the subject of occasional 

^ Bindseil, op. cit., vol. i, p. 154. 

2 Kroker, op. cit., no. 452. Browning: "The Twins." 

2 E. Rolffs : " Luther's Humor ein Stuck seiner Religion," in Preus. 
Jahrh., 1904, vol. 115, pp. 468-488. See p. 468 for this. The author 
writes charmingly but misses the great source of Luther's humor in 
quoting from his letters only. He finds Luther's humor " idyllic." 

< Ibid., p. 487. 

' Kroker, op. cit., no. 99. 

^ See supra, p. 72, and Kroker, op. cit., no. 332. 


jest ; one day Luther recommended her to an Englishman 
who wanted to learn German as his tutor because " she is 
so copiously eloquent that she beats me all to pieces." ^ 
Luther humorously recognizes that she is head of the house- 
hold, comparing her to Moses and himself to Aaron.^ 

Jokes on religious subjects go rather further than those 
of a thoroughly correct reformer should. In one passage 
Luther facetiously compares three famous preachers of his 
day to the Trinity : " They are one essence and three per- 
sons, Pomer the Father, Crodel the Son, and Rorer the 
Holy Ghost." ' 

This of course is with us a matter of taste, and it is just 
in matters of taste that Luther shows himself the child not 
only of his age but of his class. Luther spoke out whether 
in describing the morals of the Italians,* or his own ail- 
ments ^ or in giving advice to one tempted.® He spoke out 
too, in giving his opinions of his enemies and those of the 
Gospel in language which has never been surpassed and 
rarely equalled for invective force. '^ These defects have 
been so elaborately apologized for by editor and translator 
that they have perhaps attained undue prominence. What- 
ever he was Luther was not vicious, and we never see that 
polisonnerie which is so plain in Erasmus, for example. 
We do not find Luther writing enthusiastically to a friend 

1 Seidemann, op. cit., p. 156. 

2 Kroker, op. cit., no. 53. An example of the same kind given by 
Rolffs from a letter addressed to "Meiner herzlieben Hausfrauen Kath- 
erin Lutherin Doctorin Zulsdorferin Saumarkterin und was sie mehr 
sein kann." Rolffs, loc. cit., p. 483. 

3 Kroker, op. cit., no. 94. 

* Seidemann, op. cit., p. 53. 

'^ With a satire on the physician. Seidemann, op. cit., p. 139. 
« Kroker, op. cit., no. 737e. 

"> See J. H. Robinson : " The Study of the Lutheran Revolt," in 
American Hist. Rev., Jan., 1903. 


about the kisses he has enjoyed ^ or wittily toying with the 
vicious propensities of mankind in the style of the Praise 
of Folly. Luther was considered remarkably pure in his 
own age. Mathesius relates that he never heard from him 
one shameful word,^ a judgment in which any fair-minded 
reader will concur; Luther was frank, but he was not 

As to invective, Luther only gave as good as he got. He 
speaks sometimes of the revolting slanders circulated 
against him.^ Sometimes he showed an admirable, as well 
as a wise, self-restraint in this respect, as when, after read- 
ing the scurrilous attack of Cochlaeus he decided not to 
answer it. " I shall not answer Cochlaeus' book against 
me, and he will then be much angrier than if I did, for he 
will not get the honor he thought." * 

1 F. M. Nichols, Epistles of Erasmus, p. 203. To us, perhaps, 
Erasmus seems the less excusable; to the eighteenth century Luther 
■would have teen the more unpleasing. Cf. Voltaire's Lettres d son 

Altesse le Prince de sur Rabelais. His strictures are certainly 

satirical, ibut we get a true note when he says " Swift is the Rabelais 
of gentlemen," thereby implying that the indecency of the latter (who 
resembled, though he far outdid, Luther in this respect) was not quite 
polished enough for good society. 

2 Mathesius, Luther Histories, 1570, p. 136a, quoted by Losche, Ana- 
lecta, p. 2. 

3 Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. 1738, etc. 

* Bindseil, op. cit., vol. i, p. 147. The book was: Sieben kopffe Mar- 
tin Luthers von acht hohen sachen des Christlichen glaubens diirch 
Doct. Jo. Cochleum, 1529. In another place (Bindseil, op. cit., vol, i, 
p. 438 et seq.) we have an account which seems more doubtful. It 
makes Luther contradict himself in consecutive sentences, due to the 
fact that Lauterbach here, as often, blended two accounts of the same 
thing. " I shall mortify Cochlaeus by silence and conquer him by con- 
tempt, for he is a mere fool, worth nothing in either scripture or dia- 
lectic; it would be a shame if I should answer his loose lies. . . . The 
book stinks ; I am waiting to answer it until I can get time to answer 
the whole at once, so that I can do it with new, fresh wrath. He 
bores me as with a gimlet, but he will make a bunghole [sc. out of 
which my wrath shall flow]." 


It is hardly fair to judge a man by his confidential and 
casual utterances. What Luther meant only for his friends' 
ears was bruited over Christendom as loudly as his deliber- 
ate opinions, meant for the world. He was a man of 
frank, open nature, much subject to the impression of the 
moment, often self-contradictory, careless of his own repu- 
tation. He never paused to weigh his conversation in a 
company as sympathetic and indulgent as he was confiden- 
tial.^ It is not fair to say, with a French writer,^ that 
Luther talked along after dinner " dans une demi-ivresse " 
but we can readily understand that the influences of diges- 
tion and malt liquor were not always conducive to an austere 
observance of the proprieties. On the whole, if we judge 
him by his words, making allowance, as we must, for the 
age he lived in, and the circumstances of his education, 
Luther offers very little indeed whereby he can be con- 

1 " No wonder some impertinent things might intermix themselves 
liberius dicta to refresh and recreate the company." Supra, p. 79. 

2 Brunet, Propos de Table, Int. On his drinking, see Kostlin, op. cit., 
vol. ii, p. 506. It appears that he took too much once. 

8 Cf. Michelet quoted by Brunet, op. cit., Introduction. Also Walch, 
op. cit., vol. xxii, Einl., p. 33, quoting Selneccer's sententious remark 
" that we should not let a few weeds spoil the whole garden for us." 

The Table Talk in History 

The various sources and collections of Tischreden are not 
only literary monuments but historical documents, and in 
this chapter we shall treat them as such, showing first what 
use has been made of them by historians, then discussing 
their authenticity and reliability, and finally pointing out by 
a few specimens the kind of value they possess for the stu- 
dent of the Protestant Revolt. 

Luther's enemies have always found in the Table Talk a 
trenchant weapon for attacking his character and doctrines. 
Even in his writings Luther is neither consistent nor tem- 
perate, much more in his private conversation is he careless 
and unguarded. By taking every thoughtless remark to a 
friend literally and with no attention to the context, the 
occasion on which it was uttered, and the cause which 
evoked it, it is easy enough to entangle Luther in a hope- 
less mass of contradictions and to asperse his character. 
This was done by Catholics and humanists as soon as the 
Tischreden were published, and subsequently has been un- 
dertaken more thoroughly by more scientific though equally 
hostile historians.^ 

Bollinger gives us a beautiful anthology of all the least 
considered and most infelicitous of Luther's sayings, 

1 "The gnat-like tribe of Janssenists," as Losche (Analecia, Einl. init.) 
calls them, not without animus. For the humanist attack, see Walch, 
op. cit., vol. xxii, p. 20. 

225] 99 


whether taken from his works or from the Table Talk. 
If, in a moment of despondency, Luther says the preaching 
of the Gospel only seems to make men worse, and that the 
converts to the new church abuse their liberty and commit 
all manner of sin, that is taken as a serious effort to sum up 
the effect of the reformed teaching and as a damning indict- 
ment against it.^ " It is a wonderful thing," says Luther 
again, " and a sad one (plena oifendiculo) that as the Gos- 
pel flourishes the world becomes ever worse, for all turn 
spiritual liberty into license. For the reign of Satan and 
the Pope suits this world ... in truth, it degenerates un- 
der the doctrine of grace." ^ This of course is a full proof, 
to the enemies of Protestantism, that the Revolt had a bad 
moral effect. The same is shown still more clearly in Lu- 
ther's impatient denunciation of the Protestant clergy as 
full of " faide, schadliche, schandliche , Heischliche Frei- 
heitr ' 

Dollinger is content with quoting Luther's sayings 
against himself, without putting a strained construction on 
them. The recently published book of Father Denifle puts 
an unnatural meaning on much that he said and thus attacks 
Luther's life and character with such perverse erudition and 
such an obvious lack of impartiality that it appears more 
like the pamphlet of a violent contemporary than a serious 
history. One example will suffice: crimine ob iino disce 
omnes. The Reformer's words " misceor feminis " which 
from the context obviously mean nothing else than that the 
reformer no more lives in monastic retirement, but mixes 

^ Dollinger, Die Reformation, ihre innere Entwickelung, 1853-4, vol. 
i, p. 295. Quoting Walch, o/>. cit., vol. xvi, p. 2013. 
2 Ibid., p. 320, quoting Bindseil, op. cit., vol. i, p. 172. 
' Ibid., p. 306, quoting from the Tischreden. 

227] ^^^ TABLE TALK IN HISTORY i^^, 

with society, including that of women, are taken as a con- 
fession of habitual immorality/ 

Protestant historians have used the Table Talk in a fairer 
and more amiable way, though it is true that they have 
occasionally been led by admiration of their hero to 
explain away what might damage his character. This has 
been done mainly by the editors ; the historians proper have 
simply ignored the less admirable part of the Table Talk, 
or excused it all in a few general terms, while reserving 
their specific quotations for those sayings which show the 
brighter side of Luther's character. The editors, however, 
had to treat each saying by itself, and many of them have 
taken liberties with the text in the interests of piety. The 
first editor, Aurifaber, suppressed much he thought un- 
edifying, as we can see by comparing him with his sources, 
and the last editor, Kroker, has shown the same tendency 
in supporting a reading in Mathesius's Luther Histories, 
recorded so many years later, against one taken on the spot, 
all in the interest of Luther's reputation.^ 

Of all the historians whom I have consulted ^ Kostlin 
has made the best use of the Table Talk. He used all the 
sources known at the time he wrote (i. e. all but the Mathe- 
sian collection, recently edited by Kroker) and he used 
them almost exhaustively. It is literally true that nearly 
every page of his biography has some reference to the 
Table Talk, and after comparing a large number of his 

1 H. P. Denifle, Luther und Lutherthum, 2 vols., 1904, 1905. This 
expression, taken from one of Luther's letters, is found on page 283 of 
vol. i. Many references are taken from the Tischreden. 

2 In the passage about Luther's " tres malos canes." quoted supra. 
p. 49. note 3. 

^ E. g., Hausrath, Luthcrs Leben (last ed., 1905). Berger, Martin 
Luther in kulturgeschichtliche Darstellung, 1895. Kolde, Martin Luther, 
1884, 1893. Lindsay, Luther and the German Reformation, 1900. 


references with the originals, I can only testify my admir- 
ation for his thoroughness and fairness.^ 

The unprincipled use of the Tischreden by Luther's 
enemies led to an early attempt on the part of those of his 
friends whose zeal outran their judgment, to deny their 
genuineness and to impute them to Catholic forgers.^ The 
attempt was so utterly preposterous that it was soon aban- 
doned, and indeed is hardly worth mentioning. The au- 
thenticity of the Table Talk (making allowance for very 
slight editorial changes) is as indisputable as that of the 
Address to the Christian Nobility. 

Another set of defenders admitting the authenticity of 
the work, have expressed their regret that it should ever 
have been published, and even suggested that the extant 
editions be suppressed — a proposal as impractical as in- 
judicious.^ If their real defence, which, as has been stated, 
lies in a comprehension of the conditions under which they 
were spoken, be once understood and fairly applied, no 
partisan friend of Luther (needless to say no impartial his- 
torian) will regret their publication. 

A very different question from the genuineness of the Table 
Talk is the question of its reliability. In using this source 
the historian should give to statements of fact only such 
weight as can be given to any oral testimony. When the 
difference between the date of the fact recounted, and the 

1 See Kostlin, op. at., vol. i, p. 774, and vol. ii, p. 487 et seq. 

2 This was the object of a little work by Moller and Strickner, De 
auctoritate libri scripti sub titulo Colloquiorum Mensaliiun Lutheri, 1693. 
Walch (op. cit., vol. xxii, Einl., p. 22 et seq.) quotes opinions of the 
same kind, summing up strongly in favor of the genuineness. Since his 
work, 1743, no editor has thought it necessary to take up the question. 

8 Ibid., p. 25. Walch defends his own edition by saying it is better to 
have a good than a bad one. 


date of the saying in which it is recorded can be ascer- 
tained, the probable degree of accuracy can be calculated. 
Obviously Luther's story of the Diet of Worms, told by 
him twenty years after it happened, is worth less than the 
account of his controversy with the Swiss, taken down 
within a few weeks of its occurrence. 

The date can only be told as a rule, in the sources, and 
so it is these sources only, and not the collections, that must 
be used by the historian. Another reason for using them 
is that they contain the best text of the Table Talk. Again 
it is plain that the facts are reliable in proportion as they 
came within the personal observation of Luther and his 
guests. The not infrequent accounts of the evolutions of 
the Turkish army, and of the counter moves of Ferdinand 
and the German Princes, are worth no more than pure fic- 
tion as regards the facts they purport to record. They are 
worth something, however, as indicating the popular anx- 
iety caused by the Turks in Germany in the sixteenth 
century, and the popular opinion that Ferdinand used these 
terrors to wring armies and supplies from the German 

This observation leads us to remark that it is not as a re- 
pertory of dates and figures, or as a chronicle of important 
historical events, that the Table Talk has its value. This 
lies rather in the brilliant picture it gives of the opinions, 
the motives, the reading, the daily life and personal attitude 
of the greatest German of his age, and in their portrayal of 
contemporary social life and habit.^ 

A good example of the value of the Tischreden is seen 
in the new light cast, by the recently published Mathesian 

1 Cf. Kroker, op. cit., no. 507. Seidemann, op. cit., 3 and 126. 

2 Making due allowance for the context and spirit of the documents. 


Collection, on the vexed question of Luther's attitude to 
Phihp of Hesse's bigamy. Here we get a few new facts, 
as for example that the Landgrave visited Weimar to dis- 
cuss the project with Luther and Melanchthon, for which 
the Tischredcn are the only authority.^ The visit must 
have taken place in April, 1534, and the conversation re- 
ported by Mathesius who relates it, took place about June 
I, 1540, so that it is quite possible that there may be a mis- 
take in Luther's memory. More valuable, however, than 
a few doubtful facts of this nature, is the light cast on 
Luther's whole attitude by his continual reference to the un- 
fortunate affair. We can see how perplexed he is about it, 
and what pressure must have been brought to bear to get 
him to accede to the second marriage. We regret to note, 
at the same time, that he seems more worried by the use 
the " Papists " make of the affair than by its doubtful mor- 
ality. Fouchet's " worse than a crime, a blunder " is paral- 
leled by his " not only a sin but a scandal." ^ His chief 
defence of his attitude is by comparison with the worse 
morality of the Papists. He is firmly convinced that all 
would have been well if the matter could have been kept 
quiet as he advised.^ 

Luther's characterization of his contemporaries is always 
interesting to us, not as a final valuation, but as evidence 
of Luther's relations with them. His opinion of the rela- 

^Kroker, op. cit., no. 181, note 11. 

2 " Si Macedo peccavit, peccatum est et scandalum" Kroker, op. cit., 
no. 241. 

8 See Kroker, op. cit., nos. 181, 188, 233, 241, 245, etc. The most re- 
cent monograph on the subject, W. W. Rockwell's Die Doppclehe des 
Landgrafcn Philipp v. Hessen, 1904, quotes Kroker's Tischrcden in this 
connection as a source. He corrects many former misconceptions and 
shows that at the Eisenach meeting (July, 1540. shortly after the say- 
ing above quoted had been recorded) Luther advised "a good strong 


tive merits of himself and three other leaders is seen in his 
calling Melanchthon "Deeds and words," Erasmus "Words 
without deeds," himself " Deeds without words " and Carl- 
stadt " Neither deeds nor words." ^ Erasmus always ex- 
cites his wrath, being (if we may borrow a phrase from 
Milton) one of those lukewarm persons " who give God 
himself the vomit." 

I condoned all his boasts, [says Luther in one place,] but I could 
not stand his catechism, because he teaches nothing certain in 
it, but tries to make the youthful reader doubtful. It was the 
Roman curia and Epicurus who showed him the way. In 
Germany we have a regular fraternity of Epicureans, Crotus, 
Mutianus and Justus Menius.^ 

Less than anything else Luther was able to understand or 
sympathize with the advocate of half-way measures. Of 
Bucer he has a poor opinion; 

That little wretch (Leckerlein) has no credit with me. I 
don't trust him, for he has too often betrayed me. He showed 
himself up badly at Regensburg, when he wanted to be a medi- 
ator between me and the Pope, and said : " It is too bad that 
there should be so much trouble for the sake of two or three 
little articles !" ' 

Hardly less interesting than his opinion of his contem- 
poraries is his opinion of men of former generations. As 
is well known his estimation of Aristotle was small, a na- 
tural reaction against the schoolmen. 

1 For this and a numiber of other characterizations, see Bindseil, op. 
cit., vol. i, pp. 266-306. 

2 Seidemann, op. cit., p. 48. For another of the same tenor, see 
Kroker, op. cit., no. 569. 

3 Kroker, op. cit., no. 543. For Agricola. see Seidemann, op. cit., p. 
70. For Oecolampadius, Kroker, op. cit., no. 468. 


Aristotle is nothing but Epicurus. He does not believe that 
God cares for the world, or if he does, he thinks that God 
drowses along like a sleepy maid rocking a baby. Cicero was 
much better; in my opinion he got all that was best in the 

Terence was his favorite author among the heathen and 
in the following opinion of him we see a venerable sanction 
for the joke on the mother-in-law, which still makes so 
large a part of current humor : 

The Hecyra is a fine comedy, the best in Terence, but because 
it has no action it does not please the common student. But it 
is full of grave sententious sayings, useful for common life, 
such as : "All mothers-in-law hate their dausfhters-in-law." ^ 


The Translation of the Bible naturally occupies much of 
his thought. In one place he lays down a sensible rule of 
translation which partly explains the success of his own : 

It is not sufficient (in translation) to know the grammar and 
observe the sense of the words, but knowledge of the subject 
treated is essential to a proper understanding of the words. 
Lawyers do not understand the law except by practice, and 
no one can understand Virgil's Eclogues without knowing 
something of the subject. If the reader knows whether the 
eclogue is about Augustus or Caesar, he can easily apply the 
words. So in the Bible I keep to the sense.' 

1 Kroker, op. cit., no. 525. 

2 Kroker, op. cit., no. 485. His allusions to Terence are quite fre- 
quent. In one place (if my memory serves me) he said he read a 
little of that author every day. 

8 Ibid., no. 145. Further examples of the pains the Bible cost him 
and his estimate of previous translations are found in ibid., nos. 470, 
473. See also Dietrich, p. 137, quoted by Kostlin, op. cit., vol. i, p. 86, 
note 2, for his opinion of the commentators on the Bible. 

233] '^'^^ TABLE TALK IN HISTORY 107 

Some will contend that he carried this principle too far 
when he inserted a word in Romans which Paul had not 

He often speaks of the part he took in the great 
historic events of Worms and Augsburg, and though 
his memory may be at fault as to details, his allusions are 
always worth much as illustrations of his later attitude. 
At one time he was inclined to make the Diet of Augsburg 
of 1 5 18 the turning-point of his life. " Up to that time I 
knew too little of the errors of the Papacy." Possibly he 
exaggerated the amount of pressure brought to bear on 
him to retract.^ 

In like manner his memory of Worms is doubtless some- 
what at fault, but his account of it is interesting as show- 
ing his later, more advanced attitude. As he remembered 
it he said : 

Most gracious Lord Emperor : Some of my books are disputa- 
tions (Zanckbiicher), some didactic. The didactic and the 
word of God I will not recant, but if I have been too vehe- 
ment against any one in disputation, or have said too much, I 
will let it be shown me if you give me time for reflection. 

This, of course, contradicts the usual statement that he 
apologized for the invective and asked for time on the 

For the daily course of his private life the Table Talk 
is the best source we have. Even Luther's letters, frank, 

1 Seid-emami, pp. 93-97. The Diet of 1518 is of course meant. He 
states that he was there three days without a safe-conduct. He arrived 
just at the close of the session. Cambridge Modern History, vol. ii, 
P- '^22>- 

2 Bindseil, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 438-440. The passage cannot be dated 
with certainty. Of the same kind of reminiscence as the above is his 
account of his vow to be a monk. Ibid., vol. iii, p. 187 et seq. 


charming, intimate as they are, do not give us such a pic- 
ture of him as does this record of his conversations. For 
some years such as 1538, we can tell just what he was 
thinking and doing on almost every day. Out of a wealth 
of material sufficient to construct a biography, we shall 
select a few specimens. 

Luther's ill-health is a well-known fact, but we do not 
realize how constant and wearing it was until we read the 
Table Talk, where it is often alluded to, though never in 
anything but a brave and manly way. He suffered hardly 
less from his ailments than from the barbarous remedies 
of the time. Vertigo troubled him, for which he found 
help in a little food, remarking that butter was a good 
thing. ^ A more serious complaint was the ulceration of his 
body; he once compared his sores to the stars in the sky, 
saying that there were over two hundred of them.^ At 
another time he wished he had died at Schmalkald, where 
he was tortured by the stone. His observation that medi- 
cine was a good thing but the doctors poor, was fully justi- 
fied by the treatment he received on this occasion.^ 

His superstition, too, is constantly appearing. He had 
the tendency (common to the unscientific mind) of attribu- 
ting what he could not explain to supernatural causes. 
Even a thunderstorm transcends natural phenomena. He 
said of one: "It is simply satanic. I believe the devils 
wanted to have a dispute and that some angel interposed 
this xao/j^a and so tore their propositions up." Sometimes 
his credulity takes an active form which shocks our modern 

1 Bindseil, op. cit., vol. i, p. 95. 

2 Ibid., vol. i, p. 308. 

3 Seidemann, op. cit., p. 24. See also Kroker. op. cit., no. 747. For 
his illness in Italy, see Seidemann, op. cit., p. 105. His best cure, he 
said, was John iii. 16. Dietrich, p. 119, quoted Kostlin, op. cit., vol. ii, 

P- 505- 


humanity. He advised, for example, that a poor girl who 
was said to shed tears of blood in the presence of another 
woman be tortured as a witch. ^ His advice as to how to 
frustrate the machinations of the spirits who stole the milk 
is more disgusting-, though less cruel. ^ Sometimes he took 
a rational view as when he said the stars did not influence 

Luther's hospitality is strikingly portrayed in the Table 
Talk. In fact he must have had many guests all the time, 
or else he could not have had so many records made of his 
conversation by different persons. Not only did he have 
his friends with him for long periods together, but many 
chance visitors put up at his house. Such was the Swiss 
Superintendent whom Luther received on April 15, 1538. 
We have an agreeable evidence of his courtesy on this oc- 
casion in the delicacy with which he speaks of his relations 
with the Swiss Reformers.* 

We have already spoken of his carelessness in temporal 
affairs and the anxiety it caused his good wife, but the fre- 
quency of its reappearance in the Table Talk will perhaps 
justify us in adducing another example. Kathe com- 
plained that she had only three bottles of beer left, to which 
he complacently replied : 

God can easily make them four. If he were not our provider, 
we should soon be done for. I have an extraordinary way of 
living, spending more than I get. For I must spend more 
than 500 florins ^ a year in the kitchen, without counting 

1 Seidemann, op. cit., p. 117. "Let such be tortured"; perhaps he 
means the other woman, or both. 

2 Ibid., p. 121. 3 Ibid., p. 47. 

* Ibid., p. 62. See also Kolde, Analecta Lutherana, p. 378, on the mis- 
cellanea turba of old and young in Luther's house. 

^ I. e., the amount of 'his income, 200 florins besides the 300 he got 
from the elector. 


clothes and extras. If I had a smaller house I would keep 
away the multitude and be as private as I could. But God is 
the provider for simple folk." ^ 

On his relations with his wife and children much may be 
gathered from the Table Talk, but the subject is already 
hackneyed. He may joke his wife about her womanly 
readiness in speech,^ or pun on her name, calling her his 
Cathena, or Chain, but we feel that it is all good-humored 
and aflfectionate. As we have seen Kathe was not always 
on the best terms with the students, and they undoubtedly 
retaliated for her jealousy by the depreciatory tone in which 
they refer to her.^ 

It is interesting to observe how much our appreciation of 
the comparative worth of the different sayings has changed 
from that of Luther's contemporaries. To the first editors 
those sayings were most valuable which gave an authorita- 
tive exposition of some knotty point in theology, or an 
exegesis of some obscure text in the Bible. To us these 
once vital questions have sunk into comparative neglect, and 
what Luther may have thought of the Judgment Day,* or 
of Nebuchadnezzar ^ is no longer decisive, hardly interest- 
ing. To all who know Luther, however (and who does 
not?), those stories and jokes, the familiar conversations 
which reveal so much of the man's heart and life, will have 
an ever fresh and abiding interest. 

1 Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 199. 

2 Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. iii et seq. 

' See supra, ch. ii and iii. Cf. Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., no. 120. 
Kostlin, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 496. 

* Kroker, op. cit., no. 122. 

"* Ibid., no. 218. 



This bibliography is divided into six parts. The first 
is a catalogue of the MSS. and editions of the sources. The 
second is a similar catalogue of the collections, in the vari- 
ous MSS. and editions. The third part gives a table show- 
ing the relations of the various MSS., how the notebooks 
were gradually combined into the later collections. Part 
four is a list of all the German and Latin printed editions, 
both collections and sources. The fifth part is a catalogue 
of the English and French translations. The sixth and 
last section is a review of additional explanatory material 
bearing on the subject. My account of this last category 
is critical as well as descriptive; the other classes of ma- 
terial have been so fully treated in the text as to render 
further criticism unnecessary.^ 



I. Tagebuch iiber Martin Luther, gefiihret von Conrad 
Cordatus. MS. found by Dr. H. Wrampelmeyer in the 
Church Library at Zellerfeld. It contains a variety of ma- 
terial besides Tischreden. At one time Wrampelmeyer be- 

^I have seen none of the AISS. myself; my account is, therefore, 
taken from the printed sources indicated in the notes. 

237] III 

112 APPENDIX [238 

lieved it to have been in the handwriting of Cordatus, but 
later found that it was not.^ 

2. Die Herliche Schone und Liehliche Apophtegmata 
des Hochgelaerhtens Docto. Martini. Lutheri, zusammen 
geschrieben Per Dominum Doctorem Conradum Cordatum. 
" Haec varia et utilHssima dicta sanctissimi viri Doctoris 
Martini Lutheri scribebat sibi Sebastian. Redlich Ber- 
noensis, M. D., LXVI." ' 


3. Collecta ex Colloquiis habitis cum D. Martino Luthero 
in mensa per annos sex, qiiihus cum eo Wittenherge com- 
miinihis sum iisus. 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35. MS. Cent. V. 
append, no. 75, Niirnberg.^ The numbers 29, 30, etc., re- 
fer to the years 1529, etc. 

4. Rapsodiae et dicta quaedam ex ore Doctoris Martini 
Lutheri in familiaribus colloquiis annotata . . . Valen- 
tinus Bavarus suo labore et manu propria in hunc Hbrum 
transcribendo comparavit. 1548. MS. in the Royal Li- 
brary of Gotha.* 

5. Colloquia Lutheri conscripta a quihiisdam et alia quae- 
dam addita sunt. Thesaurus Theologiae 1543. Christo- 
pherus Obenander, Studio Witten. 44.° MS. in Royal 
Library at Dresden. 


6. Martini Lutheri Privata Dicta, Consilia, Judicia, 

^ Wrampelmeyer, o/>. cit., pp. 6-12. 

2 MS. first noticed by Kawerau. Cf. Wrampelmeyer, op. cit., Einl., 
p. 10, note i; Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 35 et scq.; Losche, Analccta, p. 
4, note I. Redlich of Berne is otherwise unknown. 

3 Seidemann, op. cit., Einl., p. xi. Preger, op. cit., Einl., p. xviii. 
* Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. xxi. 

5 Ibid., Einl., p. xxii. Bindseil, op. cit., p. cxxii. 

239] APPENDIX 113 

Vaticinia, Item Epistolae, Sales, Consolationes hince inde 
collectae, Anno 1567. MS. Clm. 943 in the Munich Public 
Library. ^ 


7. Tagebuch auf das Jahr 1538. MS. in Royal Library 
at Dresden.^ 

8. Meditationes et Colloquia D. Luther i. MS. in Stol- 
bergische Bibliothek at Wernigerode.' 

9. Tagebuch, copied by Khumer (Kummer), in Dresden 
Library, 1554.* 

10. Dicta et Facta R. D. D. Martini Lutheri et aliorum, 
1550. " Georgius Steinert hujus codicis est possessor." 
MS. in Munich, Clm. 937-939. Contains copies from Lau- 
terbach, and others. ° 

11. Colloquia Serotina D. M. L., 1536, 22 Octobris [and 
to 1539] descripta ex avroypaifxj. D. Antonii Lauterbachii 
primi Superint. Pirn, in Misn. Anno 1553 manu Pauli 
Judicis al. Richteri primi Pastoris Neapol. s. Neostad. prope 
Pirnam. MS. at Gotha, B 169.^ 

Mathesius, Tagebuch 

12. Goth B. 168. MS. in the Ducal Library at Gotha. 
Collection of Judgments of Luther on sundry things and 
persons, chiefly theological. P. 471. This MS. contains 
a great variety of things. It has many of Mathesius' notes. ^ 

13. Codex Rhedigeranus of the City Library at Breslau 

^ Preger, op. cit., Einl., pp. iv, v. 

2 Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iv, p. xv et seq. Seidemann, op. 
cit., Einl, p. iii. 

8 Seidemann, op. cit., Einl., p. iii. Preger, op. cit., Einl., p. i. 

* Ibid., p. ix. 

5 Preger, op. cit., Einl., pp. xxii, xxiii. 

« Kroker, op. cit., p. xxii. 

^ Losdhe, op. cit., Einl., p. 24 et seq. 

114 APPENDIX [240 

No. 295. It contains Mathesins' notes copied from X in 
almost exactly the same form as Anolccta.^ 

14. Familiaria Colloquia Rev. Viri D. D. Mar. Lutheri. 
In possession of the book dealer Hirzel of Leipzig. This 
has quite a variety of things including many of Mathesius' 
notes " undoubtedly near the original " and a few of Lau- 

15. Excerpta haec omnia in mensa ex ore D. Ma.: 
Luterj. Anno Domini 1540. MS. in Niirnberg.^ 

Mathesius, Luther Histories 

16. Historien von des Ehrwirdigen in Gott seligen thew- 
ren Manns Gottes, Doctoris Martini Luthers, anfang, Lehr, 
leben iinnd Sterben. Niirnberg 1570. (Reprinted later, 
see infra.) 


17. Memorabilia dicta et facta Lutheri. This MS. was 
used by Kostlin and cited by him as the Leipz. Mskr. Its 
age and author are unknown. The chirography is that 
of the later Reformation time. The latest datable piece 
(No. 214) speaks of the Diet of x\ugsburg, 1547. 

It contains 218 Nos. Kroker proved these to come from 
Plato's collection. Among the Tischredcn there are a number 
of anecdotes of the guests, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Major, 
Cruciger, Mathesius, &c. It is much the most original of the 
Plato copies. Kroker prints {op. cit., 52, Einl.) four pieces 
from it which are found nowhere else.^ 

1 Losche, op. cit, Einl., p. 24 et seq. 

2 Edited by Losche, 1892, as Analecta Lutherana et Melanthonia. See 
infra, printed editions. 

3 Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. I. 

241] APPENDIX 115 

18. Corpus Reformatorum, vol. XX, pp. 519-608. 
Melanchthon's reports of Luther's sayings, described as 
" Certain histories recited by him in his pubhc lectures, col- 
lected by a certain disciple, Weric Vendenhaimer of Niirn- 
berg." These consist of 304 sayings taken mostly from 
Plato's collection,^ 


19. Zwickau N LXX. Adiaphoristica item quadem 
apophthegmata. MS. in Library of the Ratsschule. 

20. Hamburg Supellex epistolica Uffenbachii et Worli- 
oriim LXXIV. Ad historsam Reformationis spectantia. 

These two MSS. are of very minor importance, having 
only a few Tischreden in them. 



I. Eberhard. Freyberg in a school Programme of 1727 
speaks of a MS. of Luther's Tischreden in his possession 
which is designated as " Thesaurus Theologims," and came 
from the hand of C. Eberhard. This man was born 1523, 
at Schneeberg, and died 1575, at Wittenberg. He had 
copied it from the original of Mathesius, as he notes in an 
autograph inscription on a page glued to the cover : " Hunc 
librum descripsi ex. Dni. Magistri Mathesii libellis cui ac- 
ceptum refero et gratias immortales ago. Caspar Eber- 
hard 1550, Aprilis 2"/." This MS. is unfortunately lost. 
Dr. Schnorr, of Carolsfeld, advertised for it in vain, and so 
did Kroker.^ 

^Losche, Annlecta, Einl., p. 30 ct seq. He mentions two other books 
in which he has found parallels to his own MS, but they are not prop- 
erlj' sources at all. 

2 See Seidemann, op. cit., p. ix, and Kroker, Einl., op. cit., p. 38. 
Schnorr gave some references from Eberhard's life by D. T. MiJller 
(1754) to show that he had written Colloquia. 

Il6 APPENDIX [242 

2. Luthers Tischredcn in dcr Mathesischcn Sajuiiilung. 
This MS. was spoken of by Lingke, 1769. Losche refers 
to it as lost.* Kroker discovered it between two books in 
the Leipzig Library, and edited it. Not mentioned in the 
Catalogue of Leipzig AISS. by Naumann, 1838; it appears 
in the catalogue of Politz's Library as follows : Lutli. 
Martinus, Colloqiiia. Manuscripta Collecta, 1546. In 1885 
G. W'ustmann printed a little bit of it, naming both Mathe- 
sius and Schiefer in connection with it, but this indication 
of its whereabouts remained unnoticed. 


I. Farrago litterarum ad aniicos et coUoquioriim in 
mensa RP Domini Martini Lutheri &c. MS. in ducal library 
of Gotha. On the binding is, M. B. 1551. See supra, p. 57. 


1. Halle MS. written 1560, edited by Bindseil, 1863-66. 
Contains the first redaction of Lauterbach's collection. See 
above, chapter on collections, and below, printed editions. 
Found in the library of the Orphan Asylum at Halle. 
Folio 654 Bl. Very poor hand. The sections often run 
together. Said to have been edited with " painful ac- 
curacy." ^ 

2. Dresden A 91 & 92. Two volumes folio of 283 and 
365 pages respectively. Anno 1562. 

3. Gotha A 262. MS. at Gotha, an incomplete copy of 
second part of the above. Folio 310 Bl. 

4. Colloquia Meditationes &c. Lutheri. lulited by Reb- 

^ Lingke: Luthers .Mcrkzviirdige Rciscgcscliichte, Einl.. p. 3. Seide- 
mann, op cit., Einl., p. xii, gives numerous references on Werndorf and 
Schiefer. Losche, Analccta, p. 10. Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 17. 

*, op. cit., Einl., passim. Meyer, loc. cit., p. 6. 


enstock at Frankfurt a. M. 1571. See chapter on collec- 
tions and infra, printed editions. 

5. MS. in Wolfenbiittel of 1562. Extra 72. Two parts 
of 169 and 236 pages respectively. It contains some mat- 
ter besides Tischreden.^ 


1. Deutsche Tischreden, printed 1566 et saepe. See 
chapter on collections and below, printed editions. 

2. C germ. 4502 in Munich. Anno 161 4. Two parts, 
229 and 191 pages, octavo. Extracts from Aurifaber." 

3. Karlsruhe 437, Luther's Tischreden 1 535-1 542. 
Written circa 1575; contains extracts from the printed edi- 
tion, with other matter in the appendices." 


A Table showing the relations of the MSS. will be found 
opposite this page. The explanation of this table is as 
follows : 

We start here with the twelve notetakers, and trace the 
process of transcription through which their notes went. We 
first observe that these transcriptions were not exact, the copyist 
changed both the matter and the order of what he copied, left 
out a good deal and introduced extraneous matter. We simply 
mean that the MSS. took most of their material from the 
sources indicated, though they often took much from others, 
especially, of course, in the large collections, A full descrip- 
tion of the MSS. has already been given. 

The Tagehuch of Cordatus is known in two MSS. 

Dietrich kept a notebook, and also had a collection, copied 
from others. The former is known in the MS. Dietrich, the 
lost MS. X copied from both, and was the source of three 
other copies, Bavariis, Obenander and Mathesius § 6. 

1 Meyer, he. cit., p. 7. Mentioned in Kroker, op. cit., Einl., p. 37. 

2 Meyer, loc. cit., p. 36. 

Il8 APPENDIX [244 

Schlag-inhau fen's Tagcbuch was edited by Preger. 

Lauterbach was the author of at least four sources. The 
first Tagebuch was copied by Weller, both in his notebook and 
his collection. The second was edited from a Dresden MS. 
by Seidemann, and is also known in three other more or less 
complete copies, Kliumer, Munich MS., and IVernigerode MS. 
The third Tagcbuch is known in the MS. Serotina, and also 
in excerpts in the fifth section of Kroker. The fourth book 
was a simple collection, i. e., a book of copies from others, 
which was taken into three of the MSS. which have the Tage- 
buch of 1539, viz., Khumer, Munich, and Wernigerode. From 
one of these, or a MS. like them, Lauterbach made his large 
collection, taking notes also from other sources doubtless, 
especially from his own earlier notes, possibly through Weller. 
The first redaction was edited from the Halle MS. by Bindseil. 
The second is known in two copies, MSS. at Gotha, and Dres- 
den. From another lost copy a third redaction was made and 
edited by Rebenstock. By a fourth line a fourth redaction 
was made, which we have in the Wolfenbiittel MS., which was 
the source of Aurifaber. Aurifaber also incorporated other 
notes, especially important being his own and those of Stolz, 
which are unknown in any other form. 

Weller's Tagcbuch and Sammlung, in both of which he 
copied largely from Lauterbach, were incorporated into the 
MS. published by Kroker, but in different ways. 

Corvinus' notebook, if he had one, is lost. One of his notes 
survives in Schlaginhaufen. 

Mathesius was the author of two books of Tischreden, the 
Tagebuch of 1540 and the Luther Histories. The first was 
copied in a lost MS., X, and from it by four other extant ]\IS., 
Gotha B., Hirzil, Rhedigcranus, and the one edited as Analecta 
by Losche. It was also copied by Plato, and incorporated by 
Mathesius himself as the first section of his collection. The 
other sources of this collection are indicated by lines ; they 
were all kept by Mathesius himself in a lost IMS., X. This 
was copied by Eberhard, whose MS. is lost, and also by Kru- 
ginger, who added to them his own copy of Weller, published 
as § 8 of Mathesius in Kroker. 

245] APPENDIX 119 

Heydenreich and Besold are known only in copies in the 
Mathesian Collection. 

Plato was copied by Melanchthon, and taken from him as 
lecture notes by Vendenhaimer, whence they were reprinted in 
the Corpus Reformatorum. He was also copied by the MS. 
Memorabilia, and by Mathesius in the seventh section. 

Stolz and Aurifaber, as has already been stated, survive 
only in the collection of the latter, where their notes cannot be 
distinguished from those taken from other sources. 

Some MSS., such as Hamburg, Zzvickau, and the collection 
Farrago, cannot be placed in this table at all, as their notes are 
either too few or their complexity too great to enable the in- 
vestigator to determine their relations. They are all unim- 




1. Tischreden oder Colloquia Doct. Mart. Luthers, so er 
in vielen Jaren, gegen gelarten Leuten, auch frembden Ges- 
ten, und seinen Tischgesellen gefiiret, Nach den Heubt- 
stucken unserer Chritlichen Lere, zusammen getragen. 
Eisleben. 1566.^ 

The Tischreden are divided here, as in all of Aurifaber's 
editions, into 80 great chapters. In this edition they are in- 
correctly numbered 82, nos. 23 and 32 being left out. 

2. The same, Frankfurt am Mayn, 1567. Folio. Doubt- 
less pirated.^ 

3. The same, Frankfurt am Mayn. Octave, 2 vols. Un- 
der the title we have: "Anfenglichs von Antonio Lauter- 
bach zusammen getragen, Hernacher in gewisse Locos Com- 
munes verfasset und aus viel anderer Gelehrter Leuth Col- 
lectaneis gemehret Durch Herrn Joh. Aurifaber." This edi- 
tion was also pirated.^ 

1 Irmischer, Luthers Tischreden, Saint. Werke, Frankfurt am Mayn 
und Erlangen, vol. 57, Einl., p. x et seq. 

I20 APPENDIX [246 

4. The same, Frankfurt am Mayn, 1568, folio. A new 
introduction, by Aurifaber, dated July i, 1567, complains 
of changes and additions to his authentic volume of Tisch- 
reden. He probably alludes to the last two editions, though 
the changes in them are very slight.^ 

5. The same, Frankfurt am Mayn, 1569, folio. Appen- 
dix with prophecies of Luther collected by Mag. G. Walther, 
and subscription by J. Fink.^ 

6. The same, Eisleben, 1569. Folio.^ 

7. The same, Eisleben, 1577. Folio.^ 

8. Tischreden von Martini Lutheri, so er in vielen Jaren 
die Zeyt seines Lebens gegen Gelehrten Leuthen &c. Anfen- 
glichs von M. Anthonio Lauterbach zusammen getragen. 
Hernacher in gewisse Locos Communes verfasset und aus 
viel anderer Gelehrter Leute Collectaneis gemehret durch 
Johannem Aurifabrum. Frankfurt am Mayn 1571. 

This edition is not mentioned in Irmischer, Bindseil, or any 
other catalogue of the Tischreden. I have seen a copy at 
Union Seminary, New York, and there is another at Johns 
Hopkins University, Baltimore. 

It is a pirated edition, copied mainly from no. 3, but with 
changes taken from no. 5. After Aurifaber's Preface of 1569 
comes the register of 80 chapters, and at the end a sort of 
Appendix put in the Index as "Auch noch viel andere Tisch- 
reden Doct. Mart. Luth. zum theil in die obgesetzte Locos 
gehorende, von allerley Sachen, auss etlichen geschriebenen 
BiJchern zusammen getragen." 

At the end comes an Appendix of Propheteyung D. Mar- 
tini Lutheri. Then the alphabetic Index. On the last page 
the colophon : Gedruct zu Frankfurt am Mayn durch Peter 
Schmid und Sigismund Feyerabend. 

* Irmischer, Luthers Tischreden, Sdnit. IVerke, Frankfurt am Main 
und Erlangen, vol. 57, Einl., p. x ct seq. 

' Ibid. I have seen this edition at Union Theological Seminary. 

247] APPENDIX 121 


9. Tischreden doctor Mart. Luthers, so er in vielen 
Jaren, gegen Gelarten Leuten, audi frembden Gesteii, und 
seinen Tischgesellen gefiihret. Nach den Haupstiicken 
unserer Christlichen Lehre, zusammen getragen. Und jetzt 
Auffs neuwe in ein richtige Ordnung gebracht, Und nach 
den geschriebenen Tischreden Doct. Mart. Luth. Cor- 

This title is followed by a picture of Luther at table with 
six men, four boys attending. Lower down on the page we 
see: Gedruct zu Frankfurt am Mayn, durch Thomas Rebarts 
Seligen Erben . . . (the sheet is torn at this point), and fur- 
ther down the date : M. D. LXXI. 

Aurifaber's Preface then comes, dated July 7, 1569. The 
Tischreden themselves form a thick folio. They are divided 
into nine large sections, unnumbered, each section divided into 
several captions, numbered, making 43 captions in all, as 
against Aurifaber's 80; though about the same amount of 
material is in each.^ 

The name of the editor does not appear on the titlepage of 
this edition, but there is no doubt that it was Stangwald, as 
he speaks of it in his edition of 1591. In the preface to the 
latter edition he describes his work, and says he was led to 
undertake the redaction in order to get an edition closer to the 
original text. 

10. The same, 1591, with name of editor on the title- 
page, and preface explaining the method of improvement, 
from the notes of Mathesius and Morlin. This edition 
was published at Jena.^ 

1 1 saw a copy of this edition at Harvard, where it was ascribed to 
Aurifaber in the catalogue until I pointed out to the librarian that it 
really belonged to Stangwald. 

2 Irmischer, op. cit., xiii, xiv. Forstemann-Bindseil, op. cit., vol. iv, 
p. xxviii. 

122 APPENDIX [248 

1 1. The same, reprint at Leipzig by T. Steinmann, 1603.^ 

12. The same, 1621, at Leipzig, by B. Voigt. This has 
the colophon at the end, " Printed at Jena by T. Stein- 
man, 1603." ^ 

13. Edition of 1669 at Frankfurt a.AL^ 

14. The same, folio, 1700, at Leipzig. 

15. The same, 172^, at Dresden and Leipzig. Georgisch 
in his Biicher-Lexicon gives the date as 1722. 


16. CoUoquia, oder Christliche Niitdiche Tischreden 
Doctoris Martini Ltifheri, so er in vielen Jaren, gegen Gele- 
hrten Lenten, und frembden Gesten, und seinen Genossen, 
nach den Heuptstiicken unserer Christlichen Lehre, gehal- 
ten. Ersthch durch M. Johannem Aurifabrum seligen, 
fleissig zusammengetragen und in Druck gegben : Jetzt 
auffs newe in ein richtige Ordnung gebracht, und also ver- 
fertiget, das sie alien Christen sehr notig, niitzlich, und 
trostlich, sonderlich zu diesen elenden letzten zeiten, zu lesen 
sind. Sampt einer newen Vorrede, und kurtzen Beschrei- 
bung des Lebens und wandels Herrn Doctoris Lutheri, auch 
sehr niitzlichem Register am Ende dieses Buchs angehenget, 
aller Biicher und Capitel der Gottlichen, heiligen schrifft, 
wo, und wenn dieselbigen der Herr Doctor Lutherus aus- 
gelegt, und erkleret habe, und in welchen Toniis solche 
auslegung zu finden sei. 

After a Latin couplet and the usual quotation from John 6 
we see: Nic. Selneccerus. Leipsig, MDLXXVIL 

^ This is in the British Museum Catalogue. It is not spoken of in 
Irmischer. 'but its existence might be inferred from his description of 
no. 12, in which the colophon of this edition was taken over unchanged. 

2 Irmischer, ibid. 

3 This is known only through a note in Georgisch in his Biicher- 
Lexicon, quoted by Irmischer, op. cit., p. xv. 

249] APPENDIX 123 

After this Aurifaber's Preface of 1569 is inserted. Then an 
"Historica Oratio" on Luther's life.^ 

17. The same, 1580^ 

18. The same, 1581.^ 

Other German Editors 

19. D. Martin Luthers sowol in Deutscher als Latein- 
ischer Sprache verfertigte unci atis der letzteren in die ers- 
tere iibersetate Sdnitliche Schriften. Zwei und zwansigster 
Theil, Welcher die Colloquia oder Tischreden, so von 
Johann Aurifaber mit Fleiss zusammen getragen, und nach 
den Hauptstiicken der Christlichen Lehre und Glaubens 
verfasset worden, enthalt; Herausgegeben von Johann 
Georg Walch, der heiligen Schrift D. und Prof. Publ. Or- 
din. auf der Universitat Jena, wie auch Hochfiirstl. Sachs, 
und Brandenb. Onolzb. Kirchen- und Consistorial-Rath. 
Halle im Magdeburgischen. Druckts und verlegts Joh. 
Justinus Gebauer. 1743. 

This was the 226. volume of his edition of the Sdnitliche 
Werke, which began to come out 1740.^ 

20. Dr. Martin Luthers Sifinreiche Tischreden. Nach 
den Hauptstiicken christlicher Lehre verfasst. Neue, wohl- 
feile Ausgabe. 2 Bde. Stuttgart und Leipzig. Verlag von 
L. F. Nieger und Comp. 1836.^ 

21. D. Martin Luthers Tischreden oder Colloquia, so er 
in vielen Jahren gegen gelahrten Leuten, auch frembden 
Gasten und seinen Tischgesellen gefiihret, nach den Haupt- 
stiicken unserer Christlichen Lehre zusammen getragen. 

^ Irmischer. op. cit., vol. 57, p. xv. 

2 These editions are common. 

^ Irmischer, op. cit., vol. 57, p. xvi. 

124 APPENDIX [250 

Nach Aiirifaber's erster Ausgabe, mit sorgfaltiger Verg- 
leichuiig sowohl der Stangwald'schen als der Selneccers' 
schen redaktion herausgegeben iind erlautert von Karl 
Eduard Forstemann, und Heinrich Ernst Bindseil .... 

Four Volumes, 1844- 1848. 

22. Martin Ltithers Tischredcn. Den Deutschen Volke 
der Gegenwart angeeignet von Dr. R. L. B. Wolf. Leipzig, 
1852. This is a selection from the Tischreden made by 
Wolff. ^ 

23. Dr. Martin Luthers Sdnmitliche Werke. Frank- 
furt a. M. and Erlangen. 1854. Dr. Mart. Luthers ver- 
mischte deutsche Schriften. Nach den altesten Ausgaben 
kritisch und historisch bearbeitet von Dr. Johann Konrad 
Irmischer. II Tischreden. Vols. 57-62. 

24. Dr. Martin Luthers Sdmmtliche Schriften herausge- 
geben von Dr. Joh. Georg. Walch. Zw^eiundzwansigster 
Band. Colloquia oder Tischreden. St. Louis, Mo., Luther- 
scher Concordia-Verlag. 1887. Dr. Martin Luthers 
Colloquia oder Tischreden. Zum ersten Male berichtigt 
und erneuert durch iibersetzung der beiden Hauptquellen 
der Tischreden aus der lateinischen Originalen, namlich des 
Tagebuchs des Dr. Conrad Cordatus iiber Dr. M. Luther, 
1537 und des Tagebuchs des M. Anton Lauterbach auf das 
Jahr, 1538.^ 

25. Luthers Tischreden. Schmidt. 1878. A small 
selection " fiir das Christlichen Haus." 

26. Kraft-Spriiche Dr. Martin Luthers. Aus der Ori- 
ginal Ausgabe seiner Tischreden von J. Aurifaber zusam- 
men gestellt und mit erlauternden Anmerkungen versehen 
von A Reichenbach. Leipzig, 1883. 

^ Hartford Theological Seminary Library. 
2 Union Theological Seminary Library. 

251] APPENDIX 125 

27. Luthers Schriften in Bd 15 of the series Deutsche 
National Literature. Ed. by E. Wolf. 1884- 1892. A 
very small selection of the Tischreden at the end of this. 

28. Meyers Volkshiicher. Luthers Tischreden. Six 
small volumes, each dedicated to a separate subject. 

Probably a large number of other editions of the same char- 
acter as the last four — little selections for the edification of the 
pious Lutheran, or for the amusement of those interested in 
German history and literature — have been published. They 
are of so little importance that I have not thought it worth 
while to make an exhaustive search for them. 

Latin Editors' 

29. Colloquia, meditationes, consolationes, consilia, ju- 
dicia, sententiae, narrationes, responsa, facetiae D. Martini 
Lutheri, piae et sanctae memoriae, in mensa prandii et 
coenae, et in peregrinationibus ohscrvata et Udeliter trans- 
scripta. Francofurti ad Moenum. Rebenstock. 2 vols. 


^ There is one little book which purports to be a Latin edition of the 
Tischreden, but it is not. I mean: "Sylvula Sententiarum, Exem- 
plorum, Facetiarum, Partim ex Reverendi Viri, D. Martini Lutheri, ac 
Philippi Melanthonis cum privatis turn publicis relationibus ; Partim ex 
aliorum veterum atq. recentium Doctorum monumentis observata & in 

Locos Communes ordine Alphabetico disposita Per N. Ericeum. 

[Pictures of Luther and Melanchthon] Francofurti ad Moenum, per 
Petrum Fabricium & Sigismundum Feyerbend. 1566." 

This is a mere collection of odds and ends from writings of and 
about Luther; no proper Colloquia. It may be compared to the Table 
Talk of Dr. Samuel Johnson, collected from his writings and from 

2 Reibenstock's name is not on the titlepage. but in the preface. The 
first volume was dated 1558 in all descriptions of this rare work, until 
Bindseil, in his Colloquia, preface, discovered the true date of both 
volumes to be 1571. The confusion arose from the fact that a picture 
was inserted on the first page, which bore the date (singularly enough) 
1558; the Preface, however, was signed and dated 1571. 

126 APPENDIX [252 

30. D. Martini Lutheri Colloquia, meditationes, consol- 
ationcs, iudiciac, scntentiae, narrationcs, responsa, facetiae. 
E codice Bibliothecae Orphanotrophei Halensis cum per- 
petiia collatione Editionis Rebenstockianae edita et prole- 
gominis indicibusque instructa ab Henrico Ernesto Bindseil. 
3 vols. 1863-1866. Lemgoviae et Detmoldiae. 

Printed Editions of Sources 

31. M. Anton Laiiterbachs Diaconi su Wittenberg, 
Tagebuch aiif das Jahr, 1538, die HanptqiieUc der Tisch- 
reden Luthcrs. Aus der Handschrift herausgegeben 
von Lie. theol. Johann Karl Seidemann Pastor zu Eschdorf. 
Dresden, 1872. 

32. Tagebuch iiber Dr. Martin Luther gefiihret von Dr. 
Conrad Cordatus, 1537. Zum ersten Male Herausgege- 
ben von Dr. H. Wrampelmeyer . . . Halle . . . 1885. 

33. Luthers Tischreden aits den Jahren 1531 und 1532. 
Nach den Aufzeichnungen von Job. Schlaginhaufen. Von 
W. Preger. Leipzig, 1888. 

34. Analecta Liitherana et Melanthonia. Von G. 
Losche. Gotha 1892. 

35. Luthcrs Tischreden in der Mathesischen Sainuilung. 
Aus einer Handschrift der Leipziger Stadtbibliothek heraus- 
gegeben von Ernst Kroker . . . Leipzig, 1903. 

This publication contains, besides 772 numbers from the 
Leipsig MS., 2 from Bavarus, i each from Cordatus B and 
Analecta, 6 from Memorabilia, and 65 from Serotina. 



I. Dris. Martini Lutheri Colloquia Mensalia or Dr. 
Martin Luther's Divine Discourses at his Table, which 

253] APPENDIX 127 

in his Lifetime he held with divers Learned Men, such as 
were Philip Melanchthon, Casparus Cruciger, Justus Jonas, 
Paulus Eberus, Vitus Dietericus Johannes Bugenhagen, 
Johannes Forsterus, and Others. Containing Questions 
and Answers Touching Religion and other main points of 
Doctrine; as also Many notable Histories, and all sorts of 
Learning, Comforts, Advices, Prophecies, Admonitions, 
Directions and Instructions, Collected first together by Dr. 
Antonius Lauterbach, And afterwards disposed into certain 
Commonplaces by John Aurifaber, D. D. Translated from 
the High German into the English Tongue by Captain 
Henry Bell. London: Printed by William Du-Gard, 
dwelling in Suffolk-lane, near London-stone, 1652.^ 

2. The same, 1791. The title is the same down to Cap- 
tain Henry Bell, then come the words: Second Edition. 
To which is prefixed, " The Life and Character of Dr. 
Martin Luther: by John Gottlieb Burckhardt, D. D., min- 
ister of the German Lutheran Congregation at the Savoy, 
in London. London: Printed for the Proprietor, W 
Heptinstal, No. 3 Wood Street, Spa Fields, Clerkenwell. 

3. Familiar Discourses of Martin Luther. Translated 
by Captain Bell and revised by J Kerby. Lewes, 1818.^ 

,4. Choice Fragments from the Discourses of Luther. 
London, 1832.* 

5. The Table Talk or Familiar Discourses of Martin 

1 Copy at Union Seminary. The titlepage is preceded by a full-length 
picture of Luther. 

2 The Lane Theological Seminary, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was kind 
enough to let me see its copy of this edition, which I have not found 

3 Catalogue of Brit. Museum. 
* Lenox Library. 

128 APPENDIX [254 

Luther. Translated by William Hazlitt, Esq. London, 

6. The same in Bohn's Library, with Luther's Life by 
Dr. Chalmers. 1857.* 

7. The same. 1900. 

8. The same; American Edition by Lutheran Publishing 
Co. of Philadelphia.^ 

9. The Table-Talk of Doctor Martin Luther. IVth 
Centenary edition edited by T Fisher Unwin. London, 

10. Luther at Table. Elegant Extracts from his Talk. 
W. H. Anderson, London, 1883.^ 

11. Luther's Table Talk. Extracts selected by Dr. 
Macauley. 1883.^ 

12. Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther. 
Translated by Bell. Cassell's National Library, Vol. 14, 

Tischreden may also be found in translation in the fol- 
lowing volumes : 

13. Luther's Life written by himself, arranged and trans- 
lated by Lawson. Edinburgh, 1832. 

14. Luther's Life by himself. Arranged by J Michelet, 
Translated by Wm Hazlitt. 1846. 

15. The same translated by Smith. New York, 1846.' 

16. The Prophecies of Luther concerning the Dozvnfall 
of Rome. Collected by R. C. m. a. London, 1664.^ 

17. Warner's Library of the World's Best Literature. 
Selection from Hazlitt. 

18. Words that shook the world, or Martin Luther his 
own biographer. New York, 1858. By C Adams.' 

^ Catalogue of Brit. Museum. 

2 So they write me, but give no date. 

5 Astor Library. 

255] APPENDIX 129 

French Translations 

1. Les Prop OS de Table de Martin Luther, Revus sur les 
editions originales, et traduits pour la premiere fois en 
Frangais. Paris, 1844. By Gustave Brunet. 

Some Tischreden are also translated into French in the 
following : 

2. Memoires de Luther ecrits par lui-meme; traduits et 
mis en ordre par M. Michelet .... Paris, 1835. 

3. The same Bruxelles 1845. 

4. Audin : Histoire de la vie, des ouvrages et des doc- 
trine de Luther. 1839. 


Most of the textual criticism of the Tischreden is to be 
found in the introductions to the various editions enumer- 
ated above. The older editions are worth little, even Bind- 
seil's Introductions to the fourth volume of the Forste- 
mann-Bindseil edition of the German Tischreden, and to 
his edition of the Latin Colloquia, though showing more 
acumen and a greater grasp and critical ability than any of 
the preceding, are worth less than more recent work, be- 
cause of the publication of so many of the sources, which 
has made the old collections comparatively valueless. 
Criticism of the texts of the sources began with Seidmann's 
Introduction to Lauterbach's Tagebuch, (1872), which is 
confined to a description of MSS. and their authors 
and possessors in such condensed form as to be little 
more than a series of exhaustive references. The copious 
Introduction and notes of Wrampelmeyer (to Cordatus 
Tagebuch, 1885) hardly went outside the field of his own 
MS., though he added many parallels to this. His judg- 
ment was warped by over-appreciation of his text. Preger, 

I30 APPENDIX [256 

in his Introduction to Schlaginhauifen's Notes (1888) is 
valuable for his researches on Dietrich and Schlaginhaufen's 
notes. He aims to strike the happy mean " zwischen dem 
Seidemann'schen zu wenig und dem Wrampelmeyer'schen 
zu viel." Losche, in the Introduction to his Analecta Lu- 
therana at Melanthonia (1892), gave the most complete 
account of AISS. up to that time published, though his inter- 
pretation of his own text as a copy of the Mathesian Col- 
lection turned out incorrect. He indulges in a somewhat 
pretentious style, speaking of Luther and Melanchthon as 
the " Reformatorische Dioscuri," and commenting severely 
on the " niedriges niveau " shown by Melancthon's telling 
stories in his class-room. By far the best thing that has 
come out on the texts, up to date, both for amount of de- 
tailed work, and for a large grasp of critical principles, is 
Kroker's Introduction to his edition of the Mathesian Col- 
lection. (1903). 

The only piece of work on the texts of the Collections is 
found in the article of W. Meyer aus Speyer : " Ueber Lau- 
terbachs und Aurifabers Sammlungen d. Tischreden Lu- 
thers." In Ab hand Inn gen d. k. Gesellsch. d. WissenscJiaf- 
ten 2. Gottingen. Phil-Hist. Kl. Neue Folge Bd. i. Nr. 2, 
1897. He first established the relation of Lauterbach and 
Aurifaber, proving that Lauterbach had made several redac- 
tions. He based his conclusions on an examination of the 
MSS. which shows real German Griindlichkcit. 

A considerable amount of periodical literature on the 
texts might be cited, but it is either in the form of an- 
nouncements of MSS. to be published (e. g., H. E. 
Bindseil : " Bemerkungen ijber die Deutschen und Latein- 
ischen Tischreden Luthers," in Theol. Stud u. Krit., 1866, 
pp. 702-716), or of reviews of the same, which in any case 
appeared in better form in the critical apparatus of the edi- 
tion in question. 

257] APPENDIX 131 

For light on contemporary events and the place of 
Tischreden in history : encyclopedias, works on the Refor- 
mation, lives of Luther, and Luther's v^orks, must all 
be consulted. For particular points, such as the life of 
one of the Tischgesellen, A. Hauck's Rcalencyclop'ddie fiir 
protestantische Theologie imd Kirche, 3d. ed. vc^hich is now 
appearing (last vol. XVII, 1906 to Schiitsheilige), is in- 
dispensable. Somewhat less useful is the Catholic counter- 
part, the Kirchenlexicon in 12 vols, (completed in 1901). 
I have also used the Allgenieine Deutsche Bibliographie. 

General Histories of the Reformation say little about the 
Tischreden, Lavisse and Rambaud (Vol. IV, Renaisance et 
Reform e 1894) gives a brief, and rather harsh appreciation 
of them. 

The lives of Luther, on the other hand, make much of 
them. Kostlin {Martin Luther, second edition, 1883) 
gives a good account of them (vol. i, p. 774, vol. ii, p. 487 
et seq.), and refers to them as an authority in al- 
most every note. Thoroughly sympathetic with his sub- 
ject, he feels the amiability of Luther's domestic life, though 
he, like the other writers on the subject, thinks he must 
excuse the faults of taste. Hausrath, Luthers Leben 
(new ed., 1905) must also be mentioned. Lindsay in his 
small but excellent work, Luther and the German Reforma- 
tion, 1903, speaks appreciatively of the Tischreden (p. 293). 
Dollinger, Die Reformation, ihre innere Entivickehmg 
(1853-1854, 3 vols.), and Denifle, Luther und Lutherthiim, 
(2 vols., 1904, 1905), attack the Tischreden from the other 
standpoint, finding in them a rich source of damaging ma- 
terial. Seckendorf, Historic d. Lutherthums (German ed., 
1 71 4), gives some early reference which throw light on 
occasional points. 

Luther's Works are of course the most valuable con- 
temporary source in explaining allusions and clearing up 

132 APPENDIX [258 

obscurities. The splendid edition coming out now at 
Weimar (29 vols., published 1883-1904) is the best. 
Walch, Samfliche Werke 24 vols., 1740-1753) is good. 
Luther's Letters are the source most closely related to the 
Tischreden. De Wette, Luthers Brief e (6 vols., 1825-56), 
covers his whole life. Ender's Luthers Briefwechsel now 
appearing, is fuller (Vol. X. to July, 1536, 1903). 

For special purposes the following works on Luther's 
Life or Works have been referred to : 

Lingke: Merkwiirdige Reisegeschichte Luther's, 1769. 

F. S. Keil : Merkwiirdige Lebensumstdnde Luther's, 

Kolde: Analecta Lutherana, 1883. This is a collec- 
tion of miscellaneous contemporary sources. 

Bretschneider : Corpus Reformat orum, vol. 1-28, Me- 
lanchthon. 1834- 1860. 

Kawerau: Briefwechsel d. J. Jonas. 2 vols, 1884-5, vol. 
17 of Geschichtsqiiellen d. Provinz Sachsen. 

Losche: Johannes Mathesius. Ein Lebens und Sitten- 
bild axis der Refonnationzeit. 2 Bd. Gotha, 1905. 

Losche: G. Mathesius' Ausgewdhlte Werke. 4 Bd. 
New Ed. Prag., 1904. The principle contents of this work 
is the " Luther Histories " which we have spoken of as a 
source of the Tischreden also. 

Buchwald : Mathesius' Predigten iiber Luthers Leben, 
1904, publishes them again. 

Rockwell, W. W. : Die Doppelehe des Landgrafen 
Philip p von Hcssen. 1904. 

Little is to be found on the literary aspect of the Tisch- 
reden. The Histories of German Literature (Vilmar, 
Scherer, Francke) ignore them. Most of the editors by 
way of literary appreciation indulge in a few lugubrious re- 
marks on the coarseness to be found in them. Walch (Einl. 
to Bd. xxii, see supra) gives a short analysis of their con- 

259] APPENDIX 1^2 

tents. Special aspects of the Tischreden are spoken of in 
the following: 

Moller & Strieker: Benignissimo Factiltatis Philoso- 
phicae indultu, auctoritatem scripti, sub titiilo D. Lutheri 
Colloquioriim Mensalium Editi, considerahunt. 1693. 
This is an impossible attempt to defend the Table Talk by 
proving it a forgery. 

Eberhard, J. E. : Schediasma Historkum de B. D. Lutheri 
Colloquiis Mensalihus, 1698, (M DC XCIIX), This tiny 
quaint old monograph I picked up at a second-hand book- 
store. It is very eloquent and very inane. 

Zincgref, J. W. : Teutsche scharfsinnige kluge Apoph- 
thegmata, 1628, gives a number of little stories and pro- 
verbs attributed to Luther, most of which are apocryphal. 

Xanthippus: " Gute alte deutsche Spruche." Three 
articles in Preussischen Jahrbiicher, vol. 85. (July to Sep- 
tember, 1896.) Pp. 149, 344, 503. This gives an inter- 
esting and accurate view of the influence of the Tischreden 
on German proverbial speech. 

Chasle, Philarete : " La Renaissance Sensuelle ; Luther, 
Rabelais, Skelton, Folengo," in Revue des Deux Mondes, 
Mar., 1842. This once celebrated writer sees in Luther 
the apostle of the movement against asceticism which he 
thinks preceded the Reformation. 

Hereford, C. H. : Studies in the Literary Relations of 
England and Germany in the i6th Century. 1886. This 
author, although he says in his Preface " for us Luther is 
solely the author of Ein Feste Burg'' throws some light on 
allusions in the Tischreden to contemporary German liter- 
ature, as for example in his short treatment of " Grobianus 
and Grobianism." (Pp. 379, 380. Cf., Wrampelmeyer, 
no. 1738.) 

Robinson, J. H. : " The Study of the Lutheran Revolt." 
Am. Hist. Rev., Jan., 1903. A critical review of recent 
literature on the Protestant Revolt. 

134 APPENDIX [260 

Rolffs, E. : " Luthers Humor ein Stuck seiner Religion." 
Preussische Jahrbiicher 1904, vol. 155. Pp. 468-488. 
Treats this side of Luther's style in an agreeable and 
popular manner. 

Weiss, J. : Luthers Einfluss auf die deiitsche Liter- 
atur. This author says nothing about the Tischreden, but 
is worth mentioning for his general treatment of the subject. 

Schmidt, E. : " Faust und Luther." In Konig. preiis. 
Akadcmie der Wissenschaften su Berlin Sit2ungsherichte, 
July, 1896. P. 567. 

Brunet, G. : Introduction to the Propos de Table, gives 
a bright, though superficial appreciation of the subject. 

The following may be mentioned as important linguistic 
helps in reading Luther's Tischreden : 

Du Cange: Glossarium mediae et iniiinae Latinitatis. 
Grimm: Dentsches Worterbuch. Vols. I-X {to sprechen, 


Dietz: Luther Worterbuch. Vol. I, A-H. 1870. 

Schmeller: Bayrischer Worterbuch, bearbeitet von G. K. 
Fromman, Miinchen, 1877. This is the best of the diction- 
aries for dialectical peculiarities which often appear in Lu- 
ther's speech. It is phonetically arranged, the b's and p's 
coming together, for example, a sensible plan as they are 
so freely interchangeable. 

Opitz, K. E. : Luthers Sprache. Ein Beitrag zur ges- 
chichte des Neuhochdeutschen. 1869. 

No complete bibliography of any branch of the literature 
can be found. For the MSS., the Introductions to Kroker, 
and Losche's Analecta, and the article of Meyer before 
mentioned, supplement each other. For the editions, the 
lists in the Introductions of the editions of Irmischer, 
Walch and Forstemann-Bindseil are good for the time pre- 





P. 18 line 12 for Cordatus read Cordatus ' 
P. 21 7wte 3 line 1 for AUegmeine read Allgemeine\ 
P. 40 note 3 line 1 for Zellerfled read Zellerfeld 
P. 55 note 1 line 6 for p. ^^ read p. 53 
P. 67 note 1 for p. 54 read p. 71 
P. 68 note 1 line 2 for (ed. 1889). read (ed. 1889) 
P. 86 line 6 for Hutton read Hutten 
P. 122 line 15 for gegben read gegeben 
P. 129 lines 9 and 10 for doctrine read doctrines 



26 1] APPENDIX 135 

ceding their issue, but are not complete. One may also 
consult : 

British Museum Catalogue; Section on Luther printed 
separately 1894. 

Fabritins: Centifolium Lutheranum.^ 

Ziichold: Bibliotheca Theologica Vol. ii. 

Hinrich's Catalogues 1750 to date. 

Kostlin op. cit., vol. ii., pp. 723-733. 

Real-Encyclopddie. Article " Luther," more recent. 

1 1 have not seen this, but it is continually referred to by Irmischer 
and Walch, 'being apparently their chief source. 

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